In Japan, the Administrative Evaluation Bureau (AEB) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has been conducting “Training Workshops for Administrative Counselors on Counseling with Foreign Nationals” since 2022.
Administrative Counselors are private citizens who are commissioned by the Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications as unpaid volunteers. About 5,000 Counselors are working nationwide and receiving complaints, requests, and opinions from citizens regarding the activities of the central government.
The Workshops are aimed at training Administrative Counselors for scenarios in which foreign nationals would like to consult with Counselors but are unable to speak Japanese. They are an initiative in line with comprehensive measures for foreign residents by the central government due to an increase in the number of foreign nationals residing in Japan.
The AEB plans to hold the Training Workshops in every region of Japan and has held them in Hokkaido, Hiroshima, and Ehime so far. In addition, the Administrative Counselors’ Association in Tokyo has held its own Training Workshop voluntarily.
In the Workshops, Administrative Counselors learned about the situations of foreign residents in their regions and took part in roleplaying exercises with international students by using a multilingual speech translation app.
Counselors successfully gained experience and confidence that even if they are not good at speaking other languages, they would be able to help foreign nationals by using innovative tools.
Counselors who participated in the Training Workshops said that they renewed and improved their motivation through the meaningful Workshops.
In the future, the AEB plans to hold the Training Workshops in other regions of Japan as well.
Source: Administrative Evaluation Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan