Rakuten's English policy: Just speak it
News On Japan via Wall Street Journal -- Jun 29
When Rakuten Inc. introduced an English-only policy for company communications in May 2010 as part of founder and CEO Hiroshi Mikitani's push to globalize the Japanese Web commerce firm, critics questioned the wisdom in forcing staff to communicate with each other in their non-native tongue.
Two years later, Mr. Mikitani said the "Englishnization" policy has been a success with steady improvement in the English proficiency of Rakuten's staff and a greater willingness to communicate in comprehendible, if not perfect, English.
As of April, Rakuten said 79% of documents, meetings and internal communications are conducted in English, an increase from 65% a year earlier.
The company is now taking the next step. Starting in July, Rakuten employees will be required to use English in all internal presentations, documents and memos. In addition, all internal meetings, training sessions, and internal company emails will use English.
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