The new education minister believes English education should be made mandatory for elementary school students.

"English does not have to be a formal subject (at elementary schools), but I personally think it must be taught," Kenji Kosaka said Tuesday.

Kosaka, 59, a Lower House member who was picked to head up the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry in the new Cabinet formed on Monday, said English education at an early age would help Japanese cope better with the international community.