As globalization makes headway, calls for increased ability in an international language like English become louder and louder. Although English is a compulsory subject in junior high and high school in this country, Japanese still have a hard time achieving even daily conversation levels.

According to the most recent EF English Proficiency Index, the English level of Japanese is ranked 35th out of 72 countries. The top three are the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, which are all northern European nations. Among Asian countries, Singapore is placed sixth, Malaysia 12th, the Philippines 13th, India 22nd and South Korea 29th. Japan places between Russia and Uruguay.

Even though most Japanese learn English for at least six years in school, why are we still not reaching sufficient proficiency? This of course is not a new question. It has been asked for years and there is a bank of standard answers.