A new Japanese Language Proficiency Test starts in 2019. Get the latest information here!

  • Those who have studied or is studying the Japanese language probably know the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) established by the International Foundation. Often students take the exam for certification or to see what level of Japanese they have. You may also need a certificate from JLPT if you are applying for a job. Usually, the companies request at least N1 or N2 level of certification.

    However, based on the complaints of the examinees, the content of the proficiency test seems to have some flaws. Many examinees criticized that the exam lacks practicality in real life, i.e. the vocabulary and grammar is rarely used in real life situations. And some others say, that even after passing the highest level of the proficiency test, they are not able to speak Japanese fluently. The root of this problem might come from the fact that the proficiency test is geared towards international students and the contents of the exam are based on university lectures and student life although only one in three examinees are students. For those who are already working or looking for work, the exam doesn’t cover subjects such as business Japanese, business manners, how one can answer the phone at work, and confirming work schedules. It seems the test contents are not suitable for those who are working.

    The New Japanese-Language Proficiency Test

    In October 2018, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (The Nikkei) published an article expressing that the Ministry has decided to bring out a new proficiency test for those who work or is looking for work in Japan. It is scheduled to be released in April 2019. This new exam is to fit the needs of the ever-changing Japanese society. Japan must start accepting more foreigners and assist in facilitating their integration into Japanese society. Currently, Japan is facing labor shortage and must accept foreign workers and professionals. Another step Japan is making towards solving this problem(other than the proficiency test) is to extend the working visas up to five years for foreign interns. This new residency status will help industries such as nursing and farming.

    List of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test

    National Qualifications

    *New Japanese Language Proficiency Test
    *Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)
    *The Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)

    National Vocational Qualifications

    *J-Test (Jitsuyou nihongo kentei)
    *Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)
    *Business Japanese Proficiency Test (BJT)

    Foreigners working in Japan

    Because of the traveling industry increasing and the 2020 Olympics, many Japanese companies are hiring staff with foreign language abilities. Presently in Japan, the foreign students who graduated from schools and stay in Japan to work are increasing. Job searching websites for foreigners are surging in Japan, supporting those who want to find internships or their ideal jobs.

    There are many purposes or motives for those who want to live in Japan, i.e. university, working holiday or to apply to a Japanese company. In any case, the Japanese Proficiency test will enable you to facilitate your stay in Japan. Last bad not least, study diligently but don’t forget to spend your time communicating with the local Japanese people in order to assimilate into Japanese society.

    Here are some links for more information on the subject:
    Nihon Keizai Shinbun Website*Only in Japanese
    Nikkei Asian Review Website*Available in English

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