Twenty years ago when there was greater economic focus on the relationship between Australia and Japan, people seemed to understand that Japanese was worth studying. I think that profile's been lost.

Kurt Mullane of the Asia Education Foundation in Melbourne. There has been a 16% drop in the number of Australian students learning Japanese and a 12% increase in the number of students studying Mandarin. (Bloomberg)

  • -2

    volland

    I do not quite understand this...

    Am I supposed to be surprised by this? Australia's education may not be the very best of the world, but you do not need to be Albert Einstsein to see that Japan is on the way down, and China on the way up.

    Australians are very well aware of the election results that the people of Japan just produced and what kind of government they elected.

  • 2

    frank07

    it's another boom-bust cycle for China, just like it was for Japan twenty years ago, unfortunately. About half of Chinese GDP is from investments, and a big chunk of that is in fixed-assets like real estate and construction, therefore raw materials like iron was needed from Australia. But with China's growth cycle ending, it will soon fall to the wayside.

  • -2

    GW

    Yep stating the obvious here, its amazing just how far Japan has fallen & continues downwards.

    China is following the same pattern except I suspect it will rise/fall at a quicker pace

  • 1

    Frungy

    a 16% drop in the number of Australian students learning Japanese

    From? To?

    a 12% increase in the number of students studying Mandarin.

    From? To?

    Also, given the increasing number of Chinese immigrants to Australia I hardly find this trend surprising.

    This isn't news, it"s numbers quoted without context and meaning.

  • -1

    AkashiAussie

    The study of Asian languages in general has been increasing in popularity over the past 20 years. 20 years ago the only languages on offer were French and German, but Australians no longer wished to be European outpost on the edge of Asia, but an integral part of the Asian region as our geography suggests we should be. Japanese was the first Asian language offered regularly in Australian schools, but now students can often learn other Asian languages such as Indonesian, Hindi and Mandarin. Just studying another language however in no way means that students will be developing conversational ability in said languages. The study of Asian languages is increasingly including cultural studies as well. Developing a life long interest is now the highest priority for educators of Asian languages in Australia, which is arguably one of the most difficult places in the world to learn languages other than English.

    Currently, our two largest trade partners are Japan and China, and recently the federal government has issued a white paper on Australia's 'Asian Century'. The Australian eye is still on Japan, but we are starting to build stronger relations with our other neighbouring countries, and we are not putting all our eggs in one basket! Japan is very interested in our mineral wealth as well as our aquaculture. In some circles, Japan's reputation has taken a battering in recent times due to their disregard for Australia's environmentalist Antarctic treaties and unwillingness to compromise on the issue of whaling.

    http://asiancentury.dpmc.gov.au/

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