Five Reasons to Tap the ELT Market in Japan

English Language Training Market Keeps Providing Key Business Opportunities for UK Companies in Japan

It seems as though everywhere one looks in Japan there are adverts prompting people to brush up on their English – on TV, on the trains, and in the train stations.

The art of English conversation has become big business in the land of the rising sun, with language schools sprouting up seemingly overnight.

Here are five reasons why UK companies should be thinking about entering the English Language Training market in Japan:

1. British Culture and Brand Britain

British heritage products remain popular in Japan, and Brand Britain is stronger than ever.

The popularity of British TV shows like Sherlock and Downton Abbey ensured that the British Council’s TV drama themed English classes were a big hit in 2015, selling out and drawing people in from as far away as Osaka.

This trend is very likely to continue and UK English Language Training companies may be able to find ample opportunities to export their services to Japan.

2. Tokyo 2020 and Beyond

As soon as Rio 2016 comes to an end, all eyes will be on Tokyo 2020.

Japan is already working on improving their infrastructure and drawing up plans for the legacy that will remain.

The Japanese Government’s original target of 20 million annual tourists by 2020 has already been met due to an inbound tourism boom, and a revised figure of 30 million has been chosen.

The sheer influx of tourists visiting annually in addition to those attending the Games will add even more pressure to transport and accommodation infrastructure, and require a workforce able to provide services and assistance in English, as well as other major languages.

3. Several Strategies are Available to Enter the Japanese Market

There are a number of market entry strategies available to UK companies seeking to enter the Japanese ELT market in Japan. These include finding partners on the ground in Japan, targeting university students for study abroad programmes, targeting secondary school students for homestays, providing e-learning services, offering corporate training, and partnering with local agencies.

Our exclusive report on Identifying Opportunities in the English Language Training Market in Japan provides a detailed look at the ELT Market in Japan, and outlines opportunities available to UK companies who are thinking of exporting their products and services overseas.

4. Japanese Companies are Focusing on Global Expansion

Abenomics is not going away any time soon, and part of the plan to stimulate Japan’s seemingly eternally flagging economy is a more global focus for Japanese companies. English is widely used in the field of business worldwide and Japanese companies have realised the importance of having employees who can hold their own in conversations within a business environment.

Company classes are increasingly popular, and companies who offer more business-oriented and tailored syllabi may find this target market appropriate.

5. Help is Available from Government Organisations like UKTI and JETRO

Organisations such as UKTI and JETRO have an array of resources and advisers on hand to make Japan market research and entry strategies easier.

The Japanese Government and Tokyo Metropolitan Government opened a One-Stop Business Establishment Center last year. The centre is located within the JETRO Headquarters in Tokyo and provides face-to-face consultations, advice on legal and other business services, and translation and interpretation services in several languages.

UKTI run live webinars and trade missions, and can offer tailored assessments of your company’s potential of doing business in Japan. The Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) is available to help UK businesses at any stage of their exporting journey.

In addition, the UK Government’s new Exporting is GREAT website details thousands of live opportunities for British businesses to get started on their exporting goals.


Our excellent webinar video on ELT Opportunities in Japan is a good reference point.

Download our in-depth report, which presents everything you need to know on the English Language Training market in Japan.

Doing business in Japan has never been easier. Send us your enquiry today and find out how to get started.


Article by Vanessa Holden, March 2016.