Keywords Japanese Education, Educational Reform, Globalization, Curriculum Design, Bilingual Education, English as a Lingua Franca


Due to an increase in globalization, international business, and the Tokyo Olympics being held in 2020, Japan faces a growing need to develop a population with the English language skills and cultural awareness needed for global success. The need to address these goals has been noted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) who is spending large amounts of money on various initiatives in schools, universities, and businesses across Japan. This papers outlines some of the key policy changes and educational initiatives that are being spearheaded by MEXT in order to develop the Japanese populous’ English language proficiency and to create a more international higher education system in order for Japan to remain competitive on the global arena. These initiatives will then be framed within the concept of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) or English as an international language (EIL). Finally, this paper specifically describes a number of programs, all of which have received considerable funding from MEXT, that have been developed at one university in Tokyo to develop globally minded bilingual individuals capable of performing in international academic or business contexts. Results of some of these programs are described in terms of language gains, study abroad placement, and post-graduation employment statistics.

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