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English language use of migrants in Japan

Ariane Borlongan, Kevin Brandon Saure, Kakeru Furukawa
Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Tokyo, Japan


While the percentage of migrants is steadily increasing in Japan, the country still laha behind most developed nations and even the global aberage. In this study, we survey on migrants in Japan and how they use and how useful to them English is, given that the country does not dominantly use English. Such an inquiry is relevant particularly that English is usually thought of as a language of global mobility. It is worth asking if this is applicable in countries where English is not dominantly used. The questionnaire survey had a total of 150 migrant respondents. The findings of the survey indicated that the use of English is quite low among migrants in Japan. Most of the daily language activities were conducted in their native language or Japanese, and the percentage of communication with Japanese people in English was expectedly low. The number of migrants in Japan is increasing, but their percentage is still small. Therefore, many people do not know other cultures and languages. In English education, practical communication skills such as conversational English are not well developed, and there is a strong tendency for English to be used only for pedagogical contexts. Findings also suggest that language remains an issue in migrating to the country. While English is touted to be the global language, it remains to be seen how useful this language truly is in migrating to Japan.


Migrants in Japan, English in Japan, migration linguistics

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023