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Who doesn’t love debating hypothetical scenarios about the future of a country, especially in the anonymity of the internet?

In fact, a recent Japanese Twitter exchange has led to such an economic debate. One Twitter user with a large following sparked the initial discussion by posing the question “What would happen if everyone in Japan learned how to speak English?” That post has now been retweeted thousands of times, with hundreds of people eager to share their own opinions on the topic.

Here’s the original Japanese post from @ueshun_jp, followed by an English translation, which led to a frenzy of retweeting and commenting:

“I was talking to someone who just returned from abroad. I asked him, ‘What would happen if everyone in Japan learned how to speak English?’ He answered, ‘Skilled workers from Asia who could speak English, but not Japanese, would suddenly be able to work in Japan, so many Japanese people would lose their jobs.’ I thought his critical response was interesting.”

Next, here’s one user’s response to that tweet:

“By expanding the English-speaking world to Japan, the cost of labor would decrease, the profits of corporations would increase, Japanese people’s salaries would diminish, and other good things would come to an end. Huh? Before we know it, a future where our salaries are lower and marriage is impossible would be upon us. If you think of it that way, Japanese people would become quite poor. Not in a nationalistic sense, but in actual feelings of suffering.”

Lastly, here’s original tweeter @ueshun_jp’s response to another commenter:

“I’ve now realized that in actuality, our country is being protected by the Japanese language.”

Other Japanese net users then proceeded to share their own opinions regarding the series of tweets. Here’s a sampling of their responses:

“Thank you, Japanese…”

“Language isn’t the only hurdle; that situation wouldn’t happen because there are few people overseas who have the same work ethic as the Japanese: ‘I don’t get a vacation!? I quit!'”

“Managers would likely be saved…they wouldn’t have to hire people from just within Japan, but would have the entire English-speaking world to select skilled workers from.”

“So I guess it’s OK that I barely speak any English (´・ω・`)”

“Japanese is beautiful (even in the sense of protecting our country).”

“Singapore is an excellent example. The argument stands to reason, since Singapore’s GDP per capita already surpasses that of Japan’s.”

“It’s an empty theory. In countries where English is an official language, are all the people from neighboring countries skilled workers?”

“I’ve lived over half of my life without ever really needing to speak English. I don’t foresee any problems in the future, either.”

Let’s add some English-speaking voices to the fray. What do you think would happen to an English-speaking Japan?

Source: Hamusoku
Top Image: Gap Year