Regarding the story “English-fluent Foreign Minister Kono makes international debut at ASEAN gathering” in the Aug. 9 edition, I have been interested in Taro Kono since the Cabinet reshuffle and watched a lot of videos about him. I have a very good impression of him, and the biggest reason is his limpid English.

I think it is crucial for people whose work is related to foreign countries to master at least one foreign language. If a person acquires the language of another country, it cannot be stated unconditionally that he is an expert on that country because it is a herculean task to understand an entire nation. But if the person can’t speak the language of that country, he is not capable of conversing with the country’s people by himself, even to convey a piece of concise information. There would be a plethora of hindrances to his job. In this context, a foreign minister fluent in English will be far more efficacious.

As we all know, Tokyo will hold the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and communications between Japan and other countries will soar. It is indispensable to enhance foreign-language ability and international consciousness. This is true not just for the foreign minister, but also the entire society of Japan.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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