Cymru to echo to sound of Japanese

18th April 2003 at 01:00
KONICHIWA Cymru. Wales is to be illuminated by the rising sun.

Every primary school in the principality is to get the chance to offer Japanese lessons. The Institute for Japanese Studies at Bangor University is to provide native Japanese speakers to teach the lessons.

The scheme is part of a broader initiative by the Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research in Wales to encourage language-learning in schools.

Keith Marshall, director of Cilt Cymru, said: "The more you know about another language and culture, the better you are able to operate as a global citizen. We are not just introducing Japanese. We are introducing multilingualism."

The Institute for Japanese Studies anticipates that six teachers will be available each year to teach in schools. It was hoped to launch the scheme in September, but no applications have yet been received.

Supporters of the Welsh language do not see the scheme as a threat. Huw Lewis, chair of the Welsh Language Society, has no fears that impressionable pupils may be confused: Y Bnr Jones will not become Jones-san overnight.

Mr Lewis said: "The Welsh language belongs to everyone in Wales. If people want to learn Japanese, that's the point of an outward-looking Wales."

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