LDP outlines it plans to increase Japan’s Global Competitiveness by improving English Language Skills.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is on a quest to reform the Japanese educational system. The LDP party is planning to encourage global talent to reverse the nation’s declining competitiveness on the international stage, and it has highlighted English-language skills as a major area for improvement.

The LDP plan would mandate that people reach or exceed a threshold in scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to gain college admission and graduation, and to qualify for certain civil service positions.

In 2010, Japan’s average score TOEFL iBT score was 69 among the worst three out of 33 Asian countries. The LDP plan would require that students at 30 select colleges score 90 to graduate and mandate that all high school students score 45 or better to earn a diploma.

However there has been some criticism of the LDP plans. Members of the Japanese press and the Japanese teachers association have argued that gaining high scores, even on TOEFL, does not guarantee that students will be able to speak English fluently.