Hiroshi Mikitani, the boss of Rakuten, an e-commerce giant, is a rare person in Japan. He wants to radically change society. In addition, he has the ear of the Japanese establishment. Furthermore, he is advising Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on a program of structural reforms.
According to Mr Mikitani, Japan’s bureaucrats keep control simply by emphasising the Japanese language. He says Japanese are uninterested in the world outside of Japan.
One morning in 2010, Mr Mikitani stunned his thousands of employees. From that day on, he said, the company would do business entirely in English. All meetings then began to be conducted in English even if people took a long time to say something.
Instead of leading employees gently towards a more global mindset, Mr Mikitani set his people a short deadline to learn English. He insisted that they do it in their spare time and at their own expense. If they did not meet certain targets, they risked being demoted or even fired.
TOEIC® is a registered trademark of Educational Testing Service(ETS). "TOEIC for Basics" is not endorsed or approved by ETS or The Chauncey Group International Ltd. The TOEIC Program is administered by The Chauncey Group International Ltd.,a subsidiary of Educational Testing Service.