The proposal has not been taken well in many quarters of Japan's expatriot community.
CONNORS: It's the second time in less than three months that foreign residents and workers have been asked to consider themselves as under increased surveillance, simply for not being Japanese. In November last year the country began photographing and finger-printing all foreign nationals when they enter Japan, as this Ministry of Foreign Affairs video explains:
"As a country which has been promoting tourism Japan's need to protect itself while securing the safety of visitors from terrorism is extremely important. Keeping this in mind in order to avoid the entry of terrorists into Japan it has been decided to impose finger-printing and photography at immigration".
CONNORS: Dave Aldwinckle has been a permanent resident in Japan since 1996 and is married to a Japanese with two children.
ALDWINCKLE: When you have over a million people being affected by this, close to two, and millions more if you include their families as well, to pass them all of as potential terrorists is worse than callous, it's in my view it's unappreciation for the work that people have done over here already.
CONNORS: An author, columnist and human rights campaigner Mr Aldwinckle who goes by the Japanese name Arudou Debito, believes the suggestion of a language test for all foreigners is difficult to enforce, and he's concerned about who will be caught in the net.
ALDWINCKLE: Believe it or not I actually believe that anybody that wants to live in Japan should speak, read and write Japanese, it's the lingua franca of this country, I understand it, I do it myself. But for them to require this test is a difficult thing because how are they going to enforce this? It's another hurdle for people that want to come over here and the Japanese government also being rather schizophrenic to say that foreigners are troublemakers, but yet they want them over here to keep companies from moving overseas and take care of the labour shortage. Having language ability, how are you going to test it?
CONNORS: Dr Chris Burgess of Tsuda College in Tokyo says the proposed language test for foreigners is going to harm Japan in a multitude of ways.
BURGESS: With the November regulations photographing and finger-printing, that's going to affect the number of tourists coming in. The new regulations - supposedly aimed at eradicating illegal residents - is just going to push them underground more than anything. And I think in some ways this is a poorly thought out policy and just a knee-jerk reaction to the public attitude which demands more to be done to tackle the foreign crime, a myth that you see in newspapers all the time that foreigners are criminals, unfounded statistically but that's the myth.
CONNORS: The Secretary General of the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism, Professor Mushakoji Kinhide has another theory about the language test?
KINHIDE: It is more or less a general position of the Liberal Democratic Party leadership about the so-called overseas Japanese origin, like in American migrants.
CONNORS: The deputy director of the foreign nationals affairs division in Japan's ministry of foreign affairs, Tarasara Ganichi told this reporter that Nikkei-jin, or returning Japanese immigrants and their descendants from throughout the world are indeed a focus on the proposed language test. But not wanting to speak on tape Mr Tarasara did stipulate that the test was not targeting any particular ethnic group. Professor Mushakoji explains his reasoning.
KINHIDE: Unfortunately the Japanese descent, young people who come do not necessarily speak Japanese and have very genuine cultural habits which are quiet different from the Japanese.
CONNORS: Dr Burgess says the move makes no economic sense?
BURGESS: It looks like it might be particularly targeting Nikkei-jin. I will be surprised if they were though because the Nikkei-jin are obviously non-permanent migrants, they're on four year visas and they were basically to stem the demand for cheap labour. That's why the visa was introduced in the first place. So to crackdown on these people wouldn't seem to make economic sense at all.
CONNORS: In 2006 the then foreign affairs minister, Taro Aso described Japan as one nation, one civilisation, one language, one culture and one race. Professor Mushakoji is therefore concerned about the new foreign minister's comments.
KINHIDE: If Komura has repeated the statement already made by Aso it is a manifestation of the Japanese government not to admit that Japan will gradually have to turn into a kind of multicultural country, and insist on keeping Japan as a homogenous society.