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For full context see this document: https://www.docdroid.net/qteAJpo/img-20170628-0002-new.pdf.html

最近、いろいろなところで開かれているビジネスマナーのためのメンタルトレーニングでも、これと同じようなことを行います。

I'd like to know for this これ in bold: Is there a way to tell wether it points forward or backwards in context? It could mean "...similar to this (what I said before)" or "similar to this (what I'll say now)".

Both would make sense in this context imho. But is there any grammatical indicator like the position of これ to tell what is meant with certainty? Or is it a rule that これ as a pronoun can only point backwards in context (which I somehow doubt though).

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In Japanese sentence, the pronoun これ is almost always used to refer to something that has already been mentioned. Therefore the これ in the sentence means what the writer said before, i.e., "記者会見ごっこ."

Exceptionally, これ in such sentence as "これは私の持論ですが〜," "これは人から聞いた話ですが〜" refers to something that will be described later. However, It is used only at the beginning of a writing so you won't be confused.

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