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Better English is in Japan's security interest

China's greater fluency a factor in more successful international outreach

| Japan
A middle school English class in Tokyo in April: Japan needs better English language skills urgently to reduce its linguistic isolation. (Photo by Yutaka Miyaguchi) 

Nancy Snow is strategic communications adviser to the International Security Industry Council of Japan, which works with foreign defense companies seeking local partners. She is also the author of "The Mystery of Japan's Information Power."

Japanese media recently reported the woeful news that the average ninth grader taking part in a national English-speaking assessment test earlier this year answered only 12.4% of the questions correctly and that most students failed to get any questions right.

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