1. The overall English proficiency of Japanese is far worse than many realize.
According to the EF English Proficiency Index (EPI), Japan currently scores #26 out of 63 countries measured, directly under South Korea and India. While this is categorized as “moderate proficiency,” and it’s difficult to determine the language ability of an entire population, Japan’s score isn’t exactly a good benchmark for fluency; according to English First’s own report, “…in the past six years, Japanese adults have not improved their English,” citing lecturing by teachers, little emphasis on oral communication, and lack of exposure to English outside the classroom as causes. A better measure, the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), has Japan ranked 40th out of 48 countries. For the Test of English as a Foreign Language Exam, Japanese scored as some of the poorest English speakers in Asia.