Major Japanese businesses realise the importance of using English, if they are to compete in the expanding international market – do you?
Japan’s top online retailer Rakuten is trading Japanese for English as its official language – company wide – in preparation for an overseas expansion, a move “crucial for us to survive in this competitive industry,” said spokesman Hirotoshi Kato.
However the online giant is not the only Japanese firm to turn to the English language as it searches for overseas growth due to shrinking domestic markets.
During October 2010, electronics maker Sharp announced they will adopt English as its official language, in its research and development division in Japan and Fast Retailing, which operates the cheap-chic Uniqlo brand, also plans to become a more global company, looking to increase its overseas sales ratio to more than 50% in 5 years from about 10% now.
Electronics giant Panasonic says about 80% of its new recruits for white-collar positions will be foreigners in the financial year starting next April. Kentaro Kakihana, leader of Panasonic’s global recruiting team, said the company was seeing “demand for more foreign colleagues to help develop products that suit various local needs”.
Electronics giant Sony, which is headed by Welsh journalist-turned-CEO Howard Stringer, says it has aggressively recruited engineers in emerging countries such as China and India in recent years.
But for Osamu Kishimoto, the general manager at Sony’s human resources development department, nationality is not an issue. “We are just looking for excellent talent.”
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