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Why are Japanese firms insisting on English?

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Rakuten, the world's third largest on-line marketplace, owns play.com, it bought ereader company Kobo last year, and has snapped up five other European companies since 2010.

Speaking to Today business presenter Simon Jack, Rakuten's chief executive and founder Hiroshi Mikkitani outlined why he credits some of his global success to making English the official language of his company.

"We needed to evolve into a global organisation," he said.

He explained how initially employees faced losing their jobs if they did not learn English in "three months".


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