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Is she a licensed guide?

All members of our partnership are national government certified guide interpreters. The national qualification was once a kind of occupational licensing such as doctor, lawyer, and CPA, but anyone can get a reward by conducting a tour now. So you may wonder what the qualification means.

We have to pass the national examination held by the Japan Tourism Agency to introduce ourselves as a national government certified guide interpreter. Some guides are also called a regional guide interpreter if they are certified by a local public body. The Guide Interpreter Act prohibits anyone from introducing herself as a guide interpreter, licensed guide, certified tour guide, etc. unless she is certified by a particular public organization.

According to the Japanese Government, there are four reasons why the national qualification is changed into non-occupational licensing.

  1. The number of international tourists to Japan has increased rapidly.
  2. The majority of them is from Asian countries, but that of national government certified guide interpreters speaks English.
  3. We have to cope with more diversified needs of international tourists to Japan.
  4. The majority of national government certified guide interpreters lives in big cities such as Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, and Kyoto.

In short, there has been a disjuncture between supply and demand in the market of guided tours in Japan.

Hereafter, I give you more detailed information about a national government certified guide interpreter because we all possess the common qualification.
All national government guide interpreters registered by local authorities are obliged to take a course in every five years to maintain the quality of their guiding service as a professional guide. They are also required to carry their certification cards whenever they provide international visitors to Japan with guiding services. You can see below my certification card and passing certificate of the national examination.

So when you hire an English-speaking guide for a fee in a big city such as Tokyo and Osaka, there are so many national government guide interpreters who speak English. Why do you have to look for a non-licensed guide? Is this because her guiding fee is cheaper?
Penny wise and pound foolish. If you really want to save money, you had better hire a volunteer guide at no charge. Otherwise you should find a licensed guide like us!! LOL.

YUKI Takano, a member of iTWS japan LLP
e-mail: yuki.takano@i3ws.co.jp

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