Rakuten Operating Almost Entirely in English – Experiment or Necessity?

Japanese billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani decided two years ago that the employees at his company, Rakuten Inc., should work almost entirely in English.

The idea, he said, was a daring and drastic attempt to counter Japan’s shrinking place in the world. “Japanese people think it’s so difficult to speak English,” Mikitani said. “But we need to break the shell.”

With the move, which took effect at the beginning of last month, Mikitani turned his e-commerce company — an Amazon competitor — into a test case for corporate Japan’s survival strategy.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Inc. tests a survival strategy: English.

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