business

Mizuho considers making English an official language in workplace

23 Comments

Mizuho Financial Group is thinking to make English an official language at the office. Companies such as Rakuten and Uniqlo have been implementing the English at the workplace policy for a number of years, with varying results.

Mizuho said that adopting English as the office language would help it unify its training and evaluation of employees who are in charge of overseas projects, according to a Nikkei Shimbun report. Regarding English lessons, Mizuho said one way would be to cooperate with universities in Japan to develop a training program in English.

However, the bank has given no timetable for when it might implement the policy. CEO Yasuhiro Saito said he is considering the idea "very positively," the Nikkei said.

Mizuho also said that it will actively promote its local employees in overseas branches to managerial positions. As the balance of loans receivable in Mizuho's overseas branches has doubled in the last three years, the bank wishes to keep talented foreign employees by providing them the same promotion opportunities as in Japan, the Nikkei reported.

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23 Comments
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Use of English, the next thing they might push for is the use of Chinese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Their service is poor in Japanese - do they think the same service in English will make it better?

Totally agree. They are possibly the worst Japanese bank in terms of service. If they can read and speak English however, they may learn that ATMs in the West don't close at midnight on a Saturday and are not unavailable on national holidays.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Retail banking and those whose clients are Japanese, language to be Japanese. Treasury, FX and bond trading, investment banking and those with international clients or using international products speaking English seems wiser.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

PaulJ

In the future we will all live in societies where the average person can speak 3,4 or 5 foreign languages because we know that the average human brain is capable of doing so. We will look back at mono lingual societies as primitive. Our education systems certainly aren't giving us the greatest opportunity but actually limiting us. There will be no international language but many international languages.

The direction is opposite to what you are suggesting; as the worlds societies assimilate people will be speaking fewer languages, not more. A good example would be China where many of the indigenous languages are being dropped for Mandarin.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It is a great idea, but funny.

I can see how our daily meeting would be if we all have to speak in Japanese here in US. Nobody can say anything in the meeting, it only lasts one minute...Ohayo and Sayonara.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Looks like they are preparing for the eventual TPP. Good move.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

A good start for Mizuho would be their online banking website.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It would be better if they make Chinese as the official language instead of English.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I can't wait until CitiBank makes Japanese the official langauge in all their facilities.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

For me, I just wish ALL the options on the Japanese banks/post office ATM were available in English.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Ah so. What? you are saying that the third bigges retail bank in Japan has mostly Japanese customers because its staff don't speak English?

As i said, for those whom deal with foreigners or posted to foreign climes, give them the support they need. But in your run of the mill Mizuho branch speaking English makes no sense.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

PaulJ suggests that in the future we may all have 3 or more languages. Perhaps ambitious,

I don't think ambitious at all. Go to parts of India or Africa and even some countries in Europe and you will that it is by no means unusual for people to speak 3 or 4 languages. The average human brain is capable of learning multiple languages but our education systems do a disservice to the potential of our children. In the future we will look back at mono lingual societies as petty, ethno centric, narrow minded, nationalistic and primitive but unfortunately I doubt this will be in our lifetimes. If there was the will people would be speaking multiple languages already but unfortunately our education systems are stifling rather encouraging and largely run by reactionary, conservatives who want us continue learning things that have no utility in the future world because their thinking has been stifled by the same education system and therefore they cannot see the skills that are necessary for today's kids tomorrow. d

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

But the vast majority of their customers are Japanese. This is plain silly. Better would be to ensure those who need to speak English get the training and support they need to learn it and the incentive to use it.

Surely it might be the case that their customers are Japanese partly because the staff have just limited linguistic ability and the firm is stuck in a linguistic prison cell.

PaulJ suggests that in the future we may all have 3 or more languages. Perhaps ambitious, but Japan just needs to wake up and accept that if you are a professional, having English should be a given, as it is in the rest of the world. I mean even the carpet sellers andf hawkers in Istanbul talk passable English.

You suggest that once you need English, then it is time to start learning it. By then it is too late! Learn English first then take the career opportunities as they arise.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I wonder if, in switching to today's global language of business, they'll also implement other global standards. Or will their training manuals just teach them to say, "We're sorry, but we cannot offer people without Japanese nationality or permanent residency a home loan," in impeccable English pronunciation?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Would be surprised if even MUFG had considered this, but Mizuho! Sure they want their loans paid back, but it shows mainstream J-companies venturing out into the wider world, which will encourage young job seekers in universities that the workplace is getting serious about English.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

StormRJul. 26, 2013 - 12:06PM JST

they should also include Geography lessons in that department as many times their staff have never heard of half the places we deal with.

Never thought I'd be saying this, but got to agree with StormR. Totally useless with geography.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Good idea and I hope that the dithering MUFG follow suit, English use especially in the International Transaction section is the way forward, they should also include Geography lessons in that department as many times their staff have never heard of half the places we deal with.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

But the vast majority of their customers are Japanese. This is plain silly. Better would be to ensure those who need to speak English get the training and support they need to learn it and the incentive to use it.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

In the future we will all live in societies where the average person can speak 3,4 or 5 foreign languages because we know that the average human brain is capable of doing so. We will look back at mono lingual societies as primitive. Our education systems certainly aren't giving us the greatest opportunity but actually limiting us. There will be no international language but many international languages.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Their service is poor in Japanese - do they think the same service in English will make it better?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Wow, what will the legions of oyagis do? No doubt his will be discussed at length during numerous cigarette breaks in the coming days.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

English is the language of the global economy, for better or worse. To participate internationally, companies must have a command of it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Hope financial transactions are fully secured and there will be no room for excuses to 'English' language for any foreseen or unforeseen losses.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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