Rakuten Inc. CEO Hiroshi Mikitani's 2010 announcement of English becoming the official internal language of the online retailing giant shocked many of the firm's employees, including Fumie Suzuki.

More than eight years have passed since Mikitani's bold move and Suzuki, 34, has come to enjoy the company's new linguistic environment. Her score on the 990-point TOEIC English-language proficiency test has improved from about 600 to over 800 thanks to language classes and overseas training experiences offered by the company, while her workplace has become increasingly diverse.

These are just some of the benefits of Rakuten's "Englishnization," a term coined by Mikitani, who has pushed ahead with the initiative in the belief that Japanese companies will not survive on the global stage without ensuring fast and efficient communication in English.