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International relations

Thailand and Mongolia embracing Japanese 'Kosen' schools

One hopes to avoid middle-income trap; other seeks modernization

Students learn electric circuit design at a Kosen vocational school affiliated with the Mongolian University of Science and Technology.

TOKYO/BANGKOK -- Japanese kosen are designed to turn teenagers into professional technicians through five years of intensive training. Established after World War II to help industrialize Japan's economy, the vocational high schools are now attracting attention from emerging Asia for much the same reason.

In Japan, kosen's primary role, to nurture young engineers, seems to be diminishing, but the school's unique teaching system endures. So add technical training schools to the list of Japanese exports.

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