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Nearly 60% say gov’t should provide multilingual info: survey

  • September 25, 2020
  • , Kyodo News , 8:09 p.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO – Nearly 60 percent of responding Japanese say information about natural disasters and administrative services should be provided in multiple languages, a government survey showed Friday.


In the annual survey by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, 58.1 percent of respondents said in a multiple-answer question that such information should be provided in a “variety of foreign languages,” while 46.3 percent said the information should be conveyed in simple Japanese for foreigners to easily understand.


The poll also showed that 28.9 percent said they have opportunities to interact with foreigners, including casual greetings or talking while shopping.


Asked in a multiple-answer question about how they communicate with foreigners on such occasions, 51.3 percent responded they talk with gestures, followed by 44.7 percent who said using English or other foreign languages, and 43.7 percent who said speaking in simple Japanese.


While 20.3 percent said they use smartphone apps and other translation devices, 23.4 percent said they use normal Japanese.


The survey also found that 68.3 percent expressed hope that foreign residents have Japanese ability to the extent they do not have trouble in daily life.


It was followed by 13.1 percent hoping that such residents can exchange simple greetings, and 11.3 percent expecting them to smoothly work or study in Japan.


Meanwhile, 56.5 percent said they are interested in helping out in Japanese lessons for foreign residents, while 39.0 percent said they are not.


The interview survey was conducted between Feb. 27 and March 15, covering 3,557 people aged 16 or older, of whom 1,994, or 56.1 percent, provided valid answers, the agency said.

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