Intern Alumni Annual Meeting: Statement on Japanese Language and Career Advancement

On 16 June 2018, EBA intern alumni, who are currently working in Japanese startup and big enterprises, gathered at Keio University (Tokyo, Japan) for an annual meeting.

The main topic in this year was Japanese Language. After the intensive discussion, we have concluded to propose the following statement:

Our Position

In career advancement, we respect Japan where internal consensus and feasibility is priority. The internship experience in EBA help us to develop such mindset.

In Japanese companies, executive leaders eye on global expansion while most Japanese employees still strongly remain in the traditional position: Japan is the second largest market in the world. That fact is surprising us.

English as a common communication tool helps things progress more faster in Asia. With respecting diversity, Asia is changing. In the higher education , included Keio University, and the leading companies in this region,  they strongly prefer to use English while Japanese people prefer to speak with the Japanese language as they are more confident with local language.

We could not speak Japanese when we first arrived in Japan, but we are focusing more on deliver the outputs. In daily life, our concern is miscommunication because it could be the beginning of conflict. However, we know that Japanese is the main language (in documentation, internal meetings, meetings with customers) in Japan. One is required to adapt and fluent in Japanese if they aim to advance in their career to management position.


  • More important than focusing on language barrier, companies should appreciate the performance and value-added outcomes by foreigners. Speaking Japanese is not the goal. It is just a communication tool for individual to reach one’s goals.
  • Employers whose main language is Japanese makes clearer job description. Specific level of language proficiency should be mentioned since the beginning of recruitment process.
  • Japanese language courses (both online and offline) should be sponsored for foreigners who works at the companies where Japanese language is mandatory.


EBA Partner Universities in QS World University Ranking 2019.

Country University World Ranking Ranking by Engineering and Technology subject Asian Ranking
Indonesia Bandung Institute of Technology  (ITB) 359 169 65
Indonesia University of Brawijaya (UB) 801-1000 291-300
Japan Keio University (KEIO) 198 126 36
Malaysia University of Malaya (UM) 87 22 24
Malaysia Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) 207 60 46
Philippines University of Philippines (UP) 384 401-450 75
Thailand Chulalongkorn University (CU) 271 140 50
Vietnam Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST) 291-300

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