Saturday, January 15, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Japan far behind in global language of business
By MIZUHO AOKI
Last in a series
Keiko Suezaki in October began sending her 7-year-old daughter to an English school in Meguro Ward, Tokyo, once a week, hoping to give her more exposure to the de facto international language.
Although her daughter, Rina, has a 45-minute English activity class at her elementary school once every two weeks, Suezaki didn't think it was enough.
"If you live in Europe, or maybe in India, you become conscious of the necessity of learning English, but it's different in Japan. So I just want my daughter to know that there is an important language called English and it's fun (to learn)," said Suezaki, a 38-year-old Tokyo resident. "Besides, I think there will be more chances to use English in business situations (in the future). When such a time comes, it's better if one can use English."
With the economy expected to shrink due to the low birthrate, Japan has no choice but to seek markets outside the country, which will mean working more with non-Japanese, experts say.
For a country without much in the way of natural resources, manpower will be key to future survival. Japan, however, appears to be falling behind its neighbors in nurturing personnel who can compete in a globalizing world. Read More