LLAS News Blog

News articles of interest to higher education LLAS subject fields.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

JAPAN: Global Economy Exposes Japan's Shortage of English-Speaking Graduates

In Japan's business world, they call it the "Rakuten English shock." The country's largest online retailer has told its 6,000 employees that they must be fluent enough in English to converse with one another by next year. Executives who aren't up to speed will be fired; rank-and-file workers will find their path to promotion blocked.

That dramatic move by Rakuten's Harvard Business School-educated founder, Hiroshi Mikitani, is the latest sign that some Japanese companies are accepting a long-held truism: English is the language of global business. It is also, however, exposing a long-term shortage of local university graduates fluent in the world's lingua franca.

Chronicle of Higher Education

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