A reform plan released in mid-December by the education ministry looks to bolster English study from elementary to high school from the 2020 academic year to pursue globalization.

Education minister Hakubun Shimomura said he hopes the reforms transform English education in a practical way, not just as a tool for entrance exams.

"I think children would like to acquire communicative skills by learning English. We have to transform the education system to serve that purpose, which I think is sought by the public," he said.