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PROGOS Inc. established the new company to develop the Japanese speaking learning program / Non-tenured professor Noriko Yokoyama, Showa Women’s University, the leading expert in Japanese language education, assumes her post as the advisor

Build the foundation for foreign talents living in Japan to acquire a Japanese speaking ability through industry-university collaboration

PROGOS Inc. (hereafter, “PROGOS”), the subsidiary of RareJob, Inc. (hereafter, “RareJob”), which utilizes human-related data and develops global talents who are active globally, established the new company, Babel Method, Inc. (hereafter, “Babel Method”) by funding together with JELLYFISH, Inc. (hereafter “JELLYFISH”). It will be responsible for developing the Japanese speaking learning program. Noriko Yokoyama, the non-tenured professor of Japanese language education in Showa Women’s University, who has been leading the penetration and development of the JF Standard for Japanese language Education (hereafter, “JF Standard” *1), will participate in the company as the advisor.

(Leading members of Babel Method)
Left: Advisor, Non-tenured professor, Noriko Yokoyama
Middle: President, Akiyo Suzuki
Right: Director, Akiko Fukai

The Issue is that “the effective method of the assessment for a Japanese speaking ability is not identified well”

In Japan, which is facing a population decline, it is expected that more and more foreign talents will be needed to secure enough labor forces. A certain level of Japanese language skill accredited by some assessments such as Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (hereafter, “JLPT”) is required for foreign people to obtain a working visa or permanent resident visa in Japan. However, JLPT focuses on Japanese reading and listening skills, so there is no way to measure or prove a Japanese speaking ability, which is essential to live and work in Japan. Therefore, it is difficult to measure and evaluate Japanese speaking skill of foreign talents at present.

Achieved to establish the joint development organization for industry-university collaboration

Babel Method will develop the new “learning program” of Japanese speaking and work to solve the issue. Japan already has the “JF Standard” to assess a Japanese language ability based on the language index CEFR, which has been widely penetrated throughout the world. Many educational institutions for Japanese language and businesses have utilized the JF standard, and Babel Method will develop the program based on this standard as well.

Noriko Yokoyama, the non-tenured professor of Showa Women’s University, who will develop the learning program as the advisor in Babel Method, has been leading in developing the JF Standard, which applies CEFR to Japanese assessment. She is one of the best persons to understand the standard and its purpose. As announced on May 12, RareJob has signed the basic agreement with Tokyo University of Foreign Studies about the development of the Japanese speaking learning program. Babel Method and the university both will supervise the development of the learning program based on their knowledge of Japanese speaking education.

Akiyo Suzuki will participate in the newly established Babel Method as the president. She is from JELLYFISH, which has developed and provided the Japanese speaking learning program. This time, she will help develop and provide the result-guaranteed Japanese speaking learning program for Babel Method.

PROGOS utilizes its knowledge and experience (*2) accumulated in English speaking education area to develop Japanese speaking assessment with the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and sell the learning programs and assessment to Japanese companies. Tomoko Fukai, who participates in the management as the director of Babel Method, has been involved in the development of Smart Method® Course, the 16-week result-guaranteed online English learning program, and the PROGOS test as the head of the program development department of RareJob. She will take leadership in the development of Japanese assessment and learning programs continuously.
Combining expertise and achievements of JELLYFISH and PROGOS, we will build the foundation to measure and evaluate a Japanese speaking skill precisely through the joint development organization between industry and university. Our initiative will resolve the issue which foreign talents working in Japan and Japanese companies have.

Future Outlook

PROGOS will take the lead in developing the assessment service for the time being. We will build a mechanism to understand the current level of a Japanese speaking skill and utilize it to suggest effective learning by measuring and visualizing the skill quantitatively. And then, we will integrate the expertise of PROGOS and JELLYFISH to develop the program to learn Japanese speaking.
PROGOS will solve the issue surrounding foreign talents working in Japan by developing and providing the one-stop service from providing an assessment service to a learning program based on the knowledge provided by the leading expert, Noriko Yokoyama. We keep making efforts to realize the mission of PROGOS, “developing the global leaders truly needed in the world” by promoting the utilization of foreign talents and supporting their activities.

New company

Company name: Babel Method, Inc.
Business: Provision of Japanese language learning courses and development and operation of Japanese language learning system
Location: 4F, 2-24-4 WESTHILL, Nishi-Gotanda, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
President: Akiyo Suzuki
Established: May 20, 2021

Introduction of advisors

[Profile] Advisor, Showa Women’s University, Noriko Yokoyama, Non-tenured Professor
Department of Japanese Language and Literature, Faculty of Human Culture
Junior and senior PhD courses in Graduate School of Literary Studies
(Concurrent position)
Executive Director of The Society for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language

*1. This is the framework for Japanese language education based on the philosophy of mutual understanding. Its aim is to cultivate the “ability to perform tasks” and “ability to understand different cultures”. It focuses on “what can be done in Japanese” as its indicator of Japanese language ability rather than knowledge of words and grammar.
*2. “The PROGOS test”, the business English speaking test based on automated AI scoring, and the 16-week result-guaranteed online English learning program, “RareJob Eikaiwa Smart Method® course”.

[About PROGOS Inc.]

Address: 6th Floor, Cranes Park Building, 18-1, Jingumae 6-chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Representative: Masuyo Ando, President
Business: Evaluation, training, and recruitment of global leaders

[About JELLYFISH Corporation]

Location: 2-24-4 Nishi-Gotanda, WESTHILL 4F, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
Representative Director: Sho Tanaka
Project: Placement/Recruiting, Media Management, Education, Investment and Other Related Businesses

Press Contacts

PR Department, RareJob, Inc.
Email: press@rarejob.co.jp