[Japan] 2/3 of Japanese White Collars Don’t Want to Go Abroad

I haven’t written too much about Japan on this blog yet but I was shocked to see this post from the WSJ today. As the title states, “Please Don’t Send Me Abroad. Ever”; this is kind of sad. We all know that globalization is inevitable. Every developing country that I have been to is implementing policies and using their resources to create a much more global state to compete with each other. Here in Beijing, and from my summer teaching experiences, every student dreams or already have gone abroad to say the least. The article states “According to a survey released today, a shocking two-thirds of the country’s white-collar workers said they didn’t want to work abroad…ever”. The reason for this is being that they are not confident with their English abilities and also they don’t think that foreign countries are safe. Being Japanese, I can completely see where this is coming from.

In Japan, students usually start studying Japanese at Jr High School level from ages 12 to 13. In neighboring countries such as China and Korea, the age at they start is much earlier. It’s recently that Japan’s Ministry of Education decided that Japan needed to conduct its’ English classes in English instead of in Japanese.

There’s been a dark cloud over Japan economically and politically these days as the country of the rising sun continues to decline as neighbors like China continue to progress.

I hope that major media sources in Japan cover this statistic so that people in Japan start to feel some sense of urgency to start becoming more global or the future will continue to be dark and Japan’s galapagosization from the international society is going to get worse.

Inside a JR Yamanote Line in Tokyo

Creative Commons Licence
Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.

2 responses

  1. Hmm… Maybe it’s the idea that they really won’t know anyone abroad? Being away from friends and family is always tough. Plus, I don’t know about you, but Americans aren’t that welcoming to foreign people unless they’re minorities. I’m not too sure about other countries. I know for sure Canada is really welcoming, no matter the ethnicity/race.

    BTW very nice picture you took. The Japanese subways look so clean and roomy.

    September 16, 2010 at 6:37 pm

  2. Hirono

    Hi, Go. Enjoying your vacation?

    I was wondering if you are being sarcastic by saying that we start studying “Japanese” at junior high school (instead of “English” since all the instructions when studying English is given in Japasese and we probablly spend more than enough time learning Japanese grammatical terms for stdying English s.a 現在完了進行形..) It is indeed a very inefficient way of learing English.
    I am always grateful to Steve for his exellent teaching. And I am also thankful that we had you in our class since you gave us a lot of incentives to study English (whether you meant it or not)! 😉

    Anyways, I totally agree with your point that Japan should start looking outward. I’ve also had this fear that if young generations of Japan did not start looking outside of our islands, we will be left behind in this wave of globalization, and I think Japan is already behind when it comes to training young people who can work globally (国際社会で通用する人材育成). I was always surprised how few Japanese international students I meet while I was in Canada. For the size of the population and the economy, there should be much greater number of Japanese students in universities abroad. But instead, in the case of Canada many universities are flooded with Chinese and Korean students and you’ll find a very modest number of Japanese students.

    Anyways, thank you for sharing your experiences through this blog. I enjoyed reading some of your old entries.
    Have a nice vacation!

    September 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm

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