How Rakutens business in English S1180100 Hiroki Sato
What is RakutenRakuten is a Japanese electronic commerceand Internet company based in Tokyo,Japan. Among its numerous onlineproperties, its flagship B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer) model e-commercesite Rakuten Ichiba is the largeste-commerce site in Japan and among theworld’s largest by sales.
Rakuten adopt EnglishInternet shopping mall operator Rakuten,Inc. surprised the public by announcingearly this year it will make English itsofficial language by 2012.
Adoption of English background (1)Board meetings and weekly allcompanymeetings have been in English sinceMarch, and President Hiroshi Mikitanihas said board members who cannotspeak English by the deadline will befired.⇨
Adoption of English background (2)The Rakuten group has 6,000 employeesglobally, of whom about 400 arenon-Japanese, spokesman Naoki Mizushimasaid. The firm does not track how manynon-Japanese it has in Japan, while the 16board members at its headquarters in Tokyoare all Japanese, he said.
Influence by adopting EnglishJapanese companies looking to expandtheir overseas sales don’t deny the meritof having employees proficient in English,but none has gone as far as to require theirJapanese employees to speak English toother Japanese employees. Experts areunsure if Rakuten’s ploy will succeed,saying it depends entirely on employeecommitment.
English is used in RakutenEnglish is hard to miss at a typicalRakuten office. It is used for employeeID cards, floor guidance in the elevatorand on the menus at company cafeterias.Rakuten uses English on its website forRakuten employees.
Rakutens actions for EnglishRakuten has invested in English lessons,time off to study and a system of bothrewards and demotions to push its Englishpolicy. That tough approach to learningwill be helpful in the real world ofinternational business, where, to becompetitive, employees need to be able towork directly in English ? not rely ontranslators, dictionaries or a fewEnglish-speaking specialists.
Rakutens plan in EnglishA proactive English policy is a clear sightedand practical step toward a better workforce.Forcing employees to be competent inEnglish means that employees cancommunicate comfortably and fulfill alltheir work requirements in English. Japanneeds more employees who can engage inproductive activity without hesitation ornervousness because of weak Englishcommunication skills.