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September 29, 2011

"English crisis" in Japan leads to increase in sales of learning materials

Reuters is circulating an article on what they are terming an "English crisis" in Japan. The article argues that due to the strength of the yen and a perceived need by Japanese companies to globalize their operations, English is becoming more important than ever. The articles goes on to suggest that employees fear that they will not be promoted without English and students are concerned that their job opportunities will be very limited without a commmand of the language.

Uniqlo and Rakuten, who have adopted English as their official language, are highlighted as standard bearers for the new urgency about learning English, and the article notes that Japan stands 27th out of 30 in an Asian league table of TOEFL scores.

According to Yano Research, sales of English learning materials rose 1.6 percent to $9.8 billion in 2010 from a year earlier and is forecast to rise another 1.8 percent this year -- rises that Reuters attributes to this new-found zeal to learn English.

See also:
Full article from Reuters
Japanese companies planning to make English official language

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