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Some languages, but not English, have regulators such as the Académie française (French Academy). Amongst other things, it decides whether or not English words such as email, software and ウォークマン ought to be in the French language, or should be replaced with French-derived terms like courriel, logiciel and baladeur.

Wikipedia says the Agency for Cultural Affairs (文化庁) at the Ministry of Education of Japan (文部科学省) plays a role in language regulation. Previous questions have mentioned that the government has deprecated hentaigana and certain kanji. Does any other form of language regulation occur, either by the Japanese government, or organizations theoretically independent of it?

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2 Answers 2

Well the government can and does regulate the words that and characters that can be used in both official documents, government signage and legal names.

They also set the minimum education standards for Japanese language. So kids have to learn kanji and learn it in a specific form.

While they can't go and take your book of out circulation or take down your store's signage if it doesn't match their standard, they effectively ensure that future generations will tend to favor not using characters and words that the government considers obsolete or useless.

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文化庁 also publish guidelines on okurigana, the writing of gairaigo, and the use of romaji. Those can be seen here. Other documents here include guidelines on the use of punctuation, iteration marks, etc.

There is also 国立国語研究所. Although they're researchers not regulators, they have produced documents on how to reword difficult-to-understand gairaigo using kanji terms (「外来語」言い換え提案).

Finally, the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee (日本工業標準調査会), through the JIS X 208 and JIS X 0213 standards, has a big influence. If you can't (or can't easily) enter/display certain characters on your computer/phone, that's going to affect usage, even if you don't really care about government standards and guidelines.

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