PUDUCHERRY: Deputy Consul-General of Japan Takayuki Kitagawa opened the Japanese Language Institute and Japanese Culture and Management Training Institute here in Puducherry on Wednesday.
One of the aspects of the Joint Statement Towards Japan-India Strategic and Global Partnership agreement signed in 2006 by the heads of both countries is the strengthening of relations by means of culture, and language is the first step towards understanding another culture, stressed Mr. Kitagawa at the inauguration.
“Over a span of three years, the number of Japanese learners in the country had doubled in 2007. One of the goals of the agreement was also to increase the number of Japanese learners to 30,000 by 2010. To this end, the Japan Foundation has been sending several teachers to the country. There are many private language institutes, employing their own teachers as well,” he said.
Many people are interested in Japanese because of the considerable increase in Japanese investments in India and in Tamil Nadu. While the number of Japanese companies in the country has gone up by 3.2 times from 2006 to 2009, in Tamil Nadu, the increase is almost five times in the same period, with many seeking jobs in these companies, he revealed. With scholars establishing similarities in Japanese and Tamil customs and researching on the possibility of spoken Japanese actually taking root in Tamil, the interest in the language is very high, he said.
“Japan is attracted to the abundant talented human resource is this part of India, where there has always been a thrust on technical and engineering education. Opening such institutes will only strengthen relations between the two countries for cultural and human resource exchange,” he said. Officials said that the institute located in Kosapalayam would, to begin with, provide one-year training to students to take up the Level 5 Japanese Language Proficiency Test, administered by the Japan Foundation, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan. The curriculum, as set by the Japan Foundation, would include conversational Japanese, as well as reading and writing of the three scripts Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. Training for subsequent levels would be undertaken from next year onwards. The one-year training programme is priced at Rs.19,000 per student.
The Japanese Culture and Management Training Institute would promote cultural exchange between the people of India and Japan, and provide training to managers in Japanese management concepts and their application in the Indian scenario.
The institute will also host a small library of Japanese books and a DVD collection at its premises, which would be open to the public for free.