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ABSTRACT  In the interest of developing new approaches to Japanese language instruction that can meet the demands of these career-minded students, this study compares the responses of both business faculty and students of Japanese language to a survey that asked them to assess the career value of Japanese language ability. In order to determine whether the attitudes of business faculty and students are consonant with professional situations outside the academy, this study also surveys executives and directors of international divisions within a number of U.S. corporations about their perceptions of the practical advantages of a background in Japanese language in the contemporary business world.

The results of this study show that business faculty, foreign language faculty, and business students have differing ideas about the role of language learning–in this study, the learning of Japanese–in preparing for careers that involve international activity. Students and business professionals outside the university, however, concur in their attitudes about the importance of foreign language proficiency. These findings suggest that business school curricula need to accommodate foreign language study to a greater degree and that the content of foreign language courses must reflect the practical needs of business students. It is critical that Japanese and other foreign language programs and business programs cooperate more fully so that students who are motivated to learn can apply their acquired language ability and cultural knowledge to successful career development.