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As job options abound, Japanese gains popularity

Swati Shinde Gole TNN

Pune: The popularity of Japanese as a language has grown considerably


among city students in the past two years. A 40% rise has been cited in the
number of students taking the Japanese language proficiency test (JLPT) since
last year. Also, the number of students taking the test in Pune is the largest
as compared to most of the other cities in the country.
As per the Japan Foundation, that conducts the JLPT in the country, Pune
had close to 1,500 test takers as against Chennai which had 1,149 test takers
till December 2011.
According to experts, the rise is due to the number of small and medium
enterprises from Japan setting up base in Pune and surroundings. As a result,
the demand for interpreters, translators, accountants and human resource
professionals is high.
The JLPT is conducted by the Japanese Language Teachers Association
(Jaltap) every six months in the month of July and December. Over the past
two years, close to 700 students appeared for the test each time it was
conducted. However, both in December 2011 and July this year the number
of test takers rose to 850.
Akitaka Saiki, ambassador of Japan, said, The proposed Delhi-Mumbai
industrial corridor has seen a large investment by the Japanese government.
As a result, opportunities will be created for people conversant in Japanese.
According to Saiki, Pune is in close proximity to the corridor and there is
also a healthy atmosphere for the language to flourish in the city with several
institutes and teaching resources.
Suhas Mate, president, Jaltap, said, Last year close to 100 Japanese
companies registered their business in India out of which 30 were set up in
Pune alone. The total number of Japanese companies in Pune is above 100.
Hence a demand for locals who speak the language.
There are also close to 70 to 80 teachers who teach the language here.
No other city in the country has such a huge strength of teachers, Mate said.
Prajwal Channagiri, Japanese language co-ordinator, department of foreign
languages, University of Pune, said, Some five years ago, it was only the
Indo-Japanese Association and the varsitys department which taught the
language. Now, it is difficult to count how many institutes teach it.

He said, Students often pursue a degree in software engineering and at


the same time also learn Japanese so that they are hired for a good pay
package.
An engineer passing out from a reputed college is paid anywhere between
Rs 25 to Rs 30 lakh per annum by a Japanese company, while an interpreter
is paid an annual package of Rs 6 to Rs 10 lakh per annum.
Yogini Garbhe, senior Japanese lecturer at a private institute, said, For
each exam conducted, we do experience a rise in number of students.
Rohan Mehta, a student who appeared for the exam in December last year,
has been offered a job by a Japanese company set up in Pune. German or
French have become very common. Hence, I opted for Japanese and after
appearing for the exam, I was immediately offered a translators job for an
attractive pay package.