Boy passes Japan''s English guide test, youngest person on

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Tokyo, Feb 5 (Kyodo) A 14-year-old boy has passed anational exam for bilingual tour guides, becoming the youngestlicense-holder on record, the Japan National TourismOrganisation announced.

Shintaro Iwai, a junior high school student in the cityof Kumamoto, beat the previous record held by a 15-year-old bypassing the English exam on his second attempt yesterday. Therecord is based on age at time of application and Iwai hassince turned 15.

The licensed guide exam tests a candidate''s knowledge ofJapan including its geography, history, economy, politics andculture, in addition to linguistic skills.

"I can''t describe how happy I was," said Iwai aboutclearing the exam that has a pass rate of around 13 per cent.

"In the future, I want to work using English."

Iwai, now in his third year in junior high school, livedin the United States for three and a half years as his familyhad moved to the country for business.

He was exempt from taking the written language section ofthe preliminary exam as he had already passed the EIKENEnglish proficiency test''s top level Grade 1 exam in the firstyear of junior high school.

But the knowledge section of the test required him tostudy at a higher level than his junior high school geographyand history classes, he said. (Kyodo)

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