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Cebu Daily News

The Cebu market for Japanese nationals looking to study English as a Second Language (ESL) will continue to grow.

Haruna Yamaguchi, manager of the Cebu-based Japanese company, I Land Way Philippines Inc., gave this assessment.

She said she would also be expecting more Japanese families to stay in Cebu to learn English as compared to before when only inpidual students would come to study.

“There is a possibility that Japanese students will come to Cebu to study English with their families. There is a market here,” she told reporters in an interview earlier this week.

When she came to Cebu City to study English three years ago, there weren’t that many who studied here. She could remember seeing only 30 to 40 students in her class, some of whom were owners of businesses in Japan.

Before she left Cebu for a work assignment in Palawan this year, she said there were already more university students coming over to study. “University students want to learn English before they graduate so they can work abroad,” she said.

Yamaguchi said that because Japan is already developed, there isn’t much room for business investments, forcing the younger generation go out of the country to find employment. However, she stressed that most of the Japanese do not know how to speak English, a skill they have to pay much for to learn in other countries. Most Japanese students prefer Cebu over other parts of the Philippines because the instructors here speak “better” English, Yamaguchi said.

Aside from the Japanese, Koreans also come to Cebu mainly to study ESL.

In 2015, the Department of Tourism in Central Visayas (DOT-7) projected that the number of Japanese travellers will outnumber Korean tourists in two years. Former DOT-7 director Rowena Montecillo said that the presence of English facilities specifically targeting Japanese has boosted Cebu’s popularity as an ESL hub for these nationals.

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