The REX (Regional and Educational Exchanges for Mutual Understanding) Program was started in 1990 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in conjunction with the Ministry of Home Affairs and Prefectural Governments.
Since then, 283 teachers from Japanese lower and upper secondary public schools have been sent abroad to teach Japanese language and culture. The Japanese Language Center, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies has been in charge of the pre-departure training program for REX teachers.
From December 5th to December 13th in 2002, a staff member from the Ministry of Education and I visited some secondary schools on the West Coast, the U. S. A., where the REX teachers had been sent. We also visited a Saturday School for Japanese students in Seattle, and an elementary school to observe the partial immersion program in Japanese for American pupils in Oregon.
We found diverse types of Japanese language education, e. g. Japanese as a foreign language, Japanese as the second language, Japanese as a heritage language, bilingual education (in the form of "immersion" program) in those different institutions.