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Thursday, 1st July 2010
In Business In Japan,

Japanese firm announces English plan

Japanese retailer Rakuten has announced it is to adopt English as the first language of all its staff.

The seller, which is the largest online shopping centre in Japan, will use English as its official in-house tongue in a bid to help the firm become a strong player in the international market.

In the announcement, the company put in place a two-year time frame for all its staff to begin using English. Menus in the company's canteens are already available in English and eventually, all internal documents will be written in the language.

Commenting on the move, the Financial Times said that while in the past, those who spoke good English often found it a hindrance to their career progression, "these days, Japanese companies increasingly realise that mastering the English language is a prerequisite to realising global ambitions".

Speaking at a press conference, president of Rakuten Hiroshi Mikitani noted that English is the most widely used language online.

Written by Kimberley Homer.

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