Publication details [#62969]

NG Chin Leong, Patrick. 2017. English-medium instruction in Japanese universities: policy implementation and constraints. Current Issues in Language Planning 18 (1) : 57–67.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


English-medium instruction (EMI) is gaining momentum in Japan as politicians constantly accentuate the need for Japanese universities to cultivate students with English skills to participate in the global market. Adopting a framework on the failure of policy implementation [Schiffman, H. (2007). Tamil language policy in Singapore. The role of implementation. In V. Vasih, S. Gopinathan, & Y. Liu (Eds.), Language, capital and culture (pp. 209–226). Bristol: Sense], micro language planning [Liddicoat, A., & Baldauf, R. (2008). Language planning in local contexts. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters; Chua, C. S. K., & Baldauf, R. B., Jr. (2011). Micro language planning. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning (Vol. 2, pp. 936–951). New York, NY: Routledge] and micro-level actors in language planning [Zhao, S. (2011). Actors in language planning. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of second language research teaching and learning (Vol. 2, pp. 905–923). New York, NY: Routledge], this article examines the efforts and constraints experienced in implementing EMI programmes in Japanese universities. Data collection is based on a semi-structured interview with Deans and directors of language centre in four Japanese universities. The results of the study displayed a series of activities undertaken by actors in language planning in implementing EMI programmes: managing the English programme, creating an organized teaching schedule, revamping the entrance examination, designing placement test, dealing with top-level management and recruiting teachers. However, several major factors impeded the implementation efforts of actors in EMI policy implementation: lack of trained teachers, students’ English proficiency and motivation in learning English, institutional culture, the lack of an English-speaking environment and lack of understanding of EMI by top-level management. There is a need for micro language policy actors to consider carefully the sacrifice and costs involved before jumping into the EMI bandwagon.