Japan and the UAE are discussing an initiative to teach Japanese as a second foreign language in some UAE high schools, according to a top diplomat.
"It is expected to start within a year," Akihiko Nakajima, the new Japanese Ambassador to the UAE, told state news agency WAM in an interview.
He said both nations are currently giving importance to educational cooperation.
"To both countries, education is one of the most important policy pillars for our prosperous future, and I firmly believe that we can contribute to each other in this area," Nakajima was quoted as saying.
Last week, it was announced that the Chinese language will be introduced to the UAE's education curricula starting this September following the recent state visit of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to China.
Nakajima also said he wants to extend bilateral relations to new areas as stipulated in the Japan-UAE Joint Statement signed last year.
"Until recently, our bilateral relations have always been centered around the economy, more specifically, oil business. I believe my mission here is to further expand and deepen these existing fields of cooperation of both countries," he said.
In recent years, bilateral relations have dramatically developed in the area of culture and sports as well. Manga, a Japanese comic, and Judo, a Japanese martial art, are also becoming popular among Emiratis, Nakajima added.
More than 4,000 Japanese people live in the UAE and the number is growing, with approximately 3,000 residing in Dubai and more than 1,000 in Abu Dhabi and other emirates.
The ambassador also expressed concern about the current tensions mounting in the Gulf region, saying that securing the safety of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz is crucially important to Japan’s energy security.
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