Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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Japan is one of the most influential countries in the world's economy and politics. Although the country is perceived as being well-equipped technologically and having an industrious, highly literate, and energetic population, foreign language education, especially in English, has long been a critical issue. From the time of the Meiji Restoration (1868-1945), the Japanese have considered studying foreign languages to be tool to facilitate the Westernization of the country. It was also a key factor in Japan's recovery and rapid economic growth in the decades following the end of World War II (1945-1952). After the postwar period (1960s-present), however, foreign languages, previously seen as a one-way tool for absorbing Western civilization, became a tool for two-way communication where ideas are shared and exchanged. This has been due to the fact that, with the arrival of the 21st century, Japanese society is facing many more challenges as a result of changing cultural norms, advances in science and, most importantly, the progress of globalization in the economy and in society. Accordingly, in 2002, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) inaugurated a policy for the improvement of communication skills in English, viewing it as essential for the Japanese to acquire communication skills in English as a common international language in order to function in the 21st century. The series of reforms being introduced due to the changing needs of the country, including the efforts made, the outcomes gained and the quick expansion of foreign-language education, is worth keeping an eye on and, thus, constitutes the focal interest of this investigation.

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