• Yokohama, Kanagawa

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Regarding the Jan. 31 article “Cabinet Office to aid foreigners caught in recession trap”: I am an American who came to Japan over 10 years ago without speaking a word of Japanese. I consequently studied on my own, with the help of a language program, and got myself into a dental school in Japan after two years of intensive Japanese study.

I feel that if you have a true love of Japan and a determination to stay here, it is very accommodating to foreigners. Believe me, I have lived in five other countries. Be that as it may, it is a given that you must speak, read and write the language of your adopted and host country, otherwise you will be functionally illiterate, thus limiting your opportunities to better yourself over here.

The basic necessities to be able to function in a foreign society is to be able to read and write and speak the vernacular language. Otherwise you are like an adult baby, unless you just frequent five-star hotels and establishments, limit yourself to your ethnic ghettoes, and thus disenfranchise yourself. No pain, no gain. It is simple reasoning.

william poh

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