The Japan Times

Tokyo, Japan​
​​Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2002


New York

                                                                        Offer foreign teachers tenure

​If the Education Ministry really wants the young people of Japan to learn conversational English, I propose that it encourage foreigners proficient in Japanese to make careers out of teaching English in Japan's schools by offering them tenure and true equality with their Japanese counterparts. The Education Ministry should also offer to give those foreigners whose Japanese skills are lacking a few months of intensive Japanese language training as an incentive to teach.

As the situation stands now, many Japanese are fated to go through life with only a cursory knowledge of the English language and the outside world as a whole -- despite the government's claims of "internationalization." I write this as one who lived in Japan for more than 10 years, working as a teacher, writer and translator, until I gave up on Japan ever taking foreigners seriously.