Some people say in Japan there is not much need for English. True. Though people study it for the test, we use Japanese for everything.
The problem is that people who do not speak English do not realize how much they are missing by not knowing English. In fact, the globally connected job market contains a lot of opportunities for Japanese speakers who are proficient in English. Linkedin is one of the social network sites dedicated for job referral. I constantly see openings for Japanese English speakers without a need relocate to foreign countries. If you do not speak English, you are completely out of this job market.
You would be also out of the knowledge sharing networks. Technically oriented people share information with each other just to enjoy knowledge sharing. I often help fellow statistical analysts and I receive support from them. I don’t even know them, but judging from their names, they are Chinese, Arabs, and Europeans.
Only on the surface, it looks like there is not much need for English in Japan. But if you need to learn new knowledge and explore work opportunities, English is a must item.
It is ironic that Japanese students are too busy preparing for tests or for job hunting that starts way early in college sophomore years. It takes away their time to be part of this exciting new world of knowledge sharing.