Close to 3 million taking Japanese lessons overseas
Some 2.98 million people were studying Japanese in 133 countries and regions in 2006, up 26.4 percent from 2003 and almost attaining the government's target of raising the number to 3 million by 2010, the Japan Foundation said Wednesday.
The number of institutions teaching the language increased 11.6 percent to 13,639, with six countries — Montenegro, Oman, Qatar, Uganda, Gabon and Central African Republic — newly confirmed to have offered Japanese courses. The number of Japanese-language teachers grew 33.8 percent to 44,321.
Of the 2,979,820 people around the world learning the language, the largest number — 910,957, or 30.6 percent of the total — were in South Korea. China had 684,366, outpacing Australia to move into second place from third since a previous survey three years ago, the foundation said.
Students of the language decreased 4.1 percent in Australia to 366,165, falling to third place, while in the U.S. the number fell 15.9 percent to 117,969.
The most recent survey was conducted between October 2006 and last March by distributing questionnaires to 27,644 educational institutions around the world.
Of 41,530 teachers, excluding those in Taiwan, 69.5 percent were people whose mother tongue is not Japanese.
The Japan Times: Thursday, Nov. 1, 2007