I very much enjoyed the March 13 editorial, “Japan’s ambivalent English,” and I strongly agree with the argument that awareness of one’s cultural identity comes as much from comparison as from knowledge of oneself. I know this is true from the years I spent in Britain as a postgraduate student and as an interpreter. Having said that, however, the reasoning behind the main idea of the editorial is fundamentally flawed, mainly because it is apparently based on the idea that multilingualism is a panacea for many of Japan’s problems.
A country needs more than a good command of English to achieve economic development. Although India might not have developed as much as it has without fluency in English, the Indians owe their economic prosperity to many other factors also, particularly its supreme education system.
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