Japan's education ministry released draft revisions of the country's curriculum guidelines for elementary and junior high schools on Tuesday, including adoption of English as a regular subject for elementary school fifth- and sixth-graders.
Under the curriculum revision plans, a teaching method designed to encourage students to independently find problems and solutions through debate and presentation will be introduced in all subjects, following the "active learning" concept proposed by the ministry's Central Council for Education.
To respond to globalization, the revised curriculum will move up the schedule in elementary schools to start English education, according to the draft.
In the third and fourth grade, students will learn how to speak and listen to English so as to get used to it.
Students in the fifth and sixth grades, who are currently participating in class activities using English, will have to study the language as a regular subject, including reading and writing it, and take 70 lessons a year.
The Japanese government is planning to reduce penalties for those who plot serious crimes like terrorism but turn themselves in before actually committing them under a contentious anti-conspiracy bill it is preparing, sources close to the matter said Monday. (Kyodo)
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday sought to deny allegations that he is linked to an Osaka-based ultranationalist kindergarten as the public outcry over the operator and its alleged efforts to indoctrinate children with xenophobia and pre-war militarism grows. (Japan Times)
The Asian Winter Games drew to a close Sunday marking the end of an event which brought together some 1,200 athletes from a record 32 nations and regions for nine days of hotly contested continental competition. (Kyodo)
A smoking ban that Japan's health ministry plans to impose on restaurants in the country with some exceptions will cover small "izakaya" eateries and "yakitori" skewered chicken restaurants, informed sources said Saturday. (Jiji)