The Tokyo Board of Education has taken a bold move — perhaps its first ever — to raise the level of English at public schools. If its plan goes without a hitch, eventually all English teachers at Tokyo’s junior high and high schools will have to study and live in an English-speaking country for three months. The requirement is an attempt to improve English in Japan and should be warmly welcomed by anyone caring about Japan’s low level of English competence.

The project is set to start in April when the first group of 200 English teachers in the third year of their careers will be sent for home stays and direct contact with real, living English all over the globe. Tokyo currently has 3,300 English teachers at public junior high and high schools, so the first 200 is just a small beginning.

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