English speaking people in Japan?

Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

English speaking people in Japan? 2008/11/16 08:26
I am from America, what is the approximate percentage of people in Japan that speak English?
by Dr. V  

just guessing... 2008/11/16 08:51
Probably about 75 percent of people speak at least a little bit of English.

And probably about 5 percent speak it fluently.

by Uji rate this post as useful

% 2008/11/16 15:15
I work in a foreign company in Japan, and even then, not that many people understand or speak English well.
If we categorize "fluently", as 95%+ English, and 0% being no English, then I would say:

Of the Japanese people at the company, maybe 5% speak 90-95% good English. Another 10% speak 70-85%, and maybe 10% speak 50-70%. Another 25% speak 25-45%, and 25% speak 10-25%, while the other 25% have practically no English at all.

So even in a foreign company, maybe 75% of the people have problems carrying on a business conversation in English.
Most of our meetings are carried out in Japanese because of this.

I would expect that even less fluent English would be spoken in the general population.

by Sandy rate this post as useful

. 2008/11/16 16:00
I agree it depends on the level of English you're talking about.
Fluent, or just some bare basics.

I always laugh when people say more people in China speak English then in the US, of course because the population is nearly 3x as large, but I always question them on "what level of fluency" are they speaking?

Speaking for some of the places I worked at, even at the Language company I worked at, the front office staff spoke some basic English, but It was never fluent, and Japanese was often used to in office communication.

by John rate this post as useful

English as she is spoke me lads! 2008/11/17 07:22
the desk staff in a small business hotel will know enough English to help you book a room, tell you where the nearest convenience store is, that type of thing. Staff in a restaurant may be able to talk about the dishes etc. But neither would be able to have a conversation with you about the weather, the history of the old temple 2 blocks away, that sort of thing. English is my 3rd language and I still remember how I was trying to say this or that with only a couple of words and one wrong verb so when I talk daily at work with people whose English is very very basic I intuitively know what they are trying to say. It is only a matter then to use their own words to make a full but simple sentence to confirm that we are on the right track. It is very hard for a unilingual person--a tourist from North America for example- who hasn't had to learn other languages and hasn't been exposed to the creative ways many foreigners use English, to grasp what they are trying to say. Google automatic translation from a foreign language to English is a useful practice tool as their translation is often totally off the mark yet it is relatively easy to kind of guess what it might mean.
by Monkey see rate this post as useful

reply to this thread