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Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012

READERS IN COUNCIL

Loath to live in a new culture


By CARY ELCOME
Mishima, Shizuoka

I totally agree with the Nov. 18 editorial "Students staying in Japan." The nervousness of young Japanese people at the prospect of traveling overseas to study is considerable. It is heightened amid all the pressures mentioned in the editorial.

If Japan is to become a major world player and attempt to run the race with China, India and other nations, then the very process for job finding and recruitment, as well as fulfilling the criteria for this, will have to change dramatically.

The reluctance of university students to travel is accompanied by a recalcitrance toward learning a foreign language to any degree of fluency, flexibility or confidence. (This raises questions about the crushingly traditionalist, suppressive general education policies and practices in Japan.)

The advent of a "new age" of economic powers and structures, along with Japan's possible association with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, will show employers how shortsighted and ignorant they have been in placing restrictive blinkers on this country's future captains of industry.

I have been teaching international students master's-level courses in the United Kingdom for several years. The diminishing number of Japanese students is lamentable. However, even during their heyday, they had the greatest difficulty in entering a discussion, interrupting others and expressing opinions succinctly and spontaneously. This may be cultural, but as sure as God made little green apples, it is no way to succeed in the world today. A complete revision of the employment procedures and the learning culture in Japan is necessary.

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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