Greeting from the head of the Center

ITO, Sukero Director of JLCTUFS

I am continuing to serve as Center Director for a two-year period starting April 2015. I was first appointed as Director of JLCTUFS in the spring of 2011, which means that in the third term I will be starting my fifth year in office. During this period the context in which national universities operate has been going through major changes — including globalization, the aging population, and the decline in the population of 18 year olds — and in the face of this rapid social change national universities are being called upon to take on a range of new roles in society. In 2015, as the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies set about redefining its own mission, we took the opportunity to explore where the center’s strengths lie, what sets us apart, and what strategies we can use to strengthen the University’s functions going forward.
 Thanks to all your hard work, in July 2012 the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology recognized our institution as a Base for Joint Use by Educational Institutions in the field of Japanese language education, teaching materials development, and practical educational training. This new status has given us an opportunity to cooperate and work together with several other universities to promote more effective, inter-institutional use of our human and material resources and thereby develop a higher standard of education. While reaffirming the role and mission of Japanese language education in our globalized society, we are currently engaged in a variety of initiatives aimed at making JLCTUFS an even greater base for developing global-minded human resources.
 Furthermore, in light of the call made in the National University Reform Plan to improve how Japan conveys itself to the world, the Graduate University International Institute of Japanese Studies was established in April of 2015 with the aim of reallocating the University’s human resources: this new organization gathers JLCTUFS faculty together with other Japanese studies-related faculty at the University so that they can work together to enhance how Japan conveys itself to the world.
 In spring of 2016, the Graduate University will launch its Major in International Japanese Studies. This new program will include two newly launched courses: the Course in International Japanese Studies and the Recurrent Course in Japanese Language Education. The former will aim to promote research into Japan and into the Japanese language from an international perspective, and to develop internationally minded researchers in the field of Japanese studies. The latter course aims to promote the training of highly capable Japanese language educators by running recurrent trainings for Japanese language educators both in Japan and beyond, including international students. In this way, the University aims to demonstrate its strengths through education that develops students’ comprehensive and practical skills while strengthening Japan’s global standing. Through the major, faculty at JLCTUFS will be deeply involved in developing human resources who have the comprehensive skills to establish their place in this diverse society and to respond to a changing and increasingly complex world.
 These developments will mean that in addition to educating international students in the Japanese language, we at JLCTUFS will be able to teach and conduct research with students of the Graduate University. We will also be able to push ahead with collaborations with other institutions both in Japan and overseas in order to further enhance our international links.
 With regard to the center’s training of international students, our strength has historically been our one-year intensive program for government-sponsored international students who are preparing to study at the University, in which we set the high educational goal of teaching students the Japanese language skills they will need to take classes alongside their Japanese counterparts. While continuing to capitalize on this strength, we aim to create an organization and system that has the strength to adapt with flexibility; this will let us pursue high level education and research and maintain our status as one of Japan’s top educational institutions, and in so doing further strengthen the University’s functions.
 We have embraced the reorganization and reform of the University as a kind of opportunity to transform the center from one dedicated to educating international students into one that can respond to a diverse array of needs, and we look forward to fully capitalizing on all the know-how we have accumulated so far and sharing it with the world. And I want us to commit decisively to this new direction so that we can find our way in a brand new era.


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