Uniqlo heeds Dalai Lama's advice to speak English
It looks like the advice of the Dalai Lama has reached fashion giant Uniqlo, who have announced that all staff -- from store clerks to executives -- will have to speak English by 2012. CNNGo joined the exiled Tibetan leader for an early morning press conference on June 19 where he spoke of Japan's failure to participate in world issues due to their inability to speak the global language.
"Whether you like it or not, English is the universal language. Study English and go out. This is very important," he said. "Now, you should participate, wisely, (in) the outside world. But, the youth of Japan remain here, and (are having) some problems here. Go (to the) outside world! To Arabia, Africa, Latin America... You can make many contributions."
Now Japan's leading clothing retail giant Fast Retailing, which owns Uniqlo, has announced a requirement that executives at home and abroad must conduct meetings in English and new staff must achieve a score of 700 in English tests to join the company.
President Tadashi Yanai told the Mainichi newspaper, "This move is necessary for a Japanese company to survive as a global corporation," as the company aims to become the world's biggest fashion retailer by 2020.
The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader lamented the fact that English is not widely spoken by Japanese and suggested the educational system was in part to blame in "a country technologically highly developed. Japanese youth are (under) too much stress and lonely. As a result, some (commit) suicide. I heard that that rate is increasing," he said.
The Mainichi Shimbun commented: "The Dalai Lama's comments seem to come from his own experience of having to lead a life in exile in India, but creating a circle of support in many places in the world by using English."