Japan was the country where TOEIC tests were first administered and have always been widely used there. Now, however, the world's leading test of English for daily and workplace use is soaring to new heights in the country.
The Daily Yomiuri newspaper reports that the TOEIC test seems poised to replace the national Eiken test as Japan’s most popular test of English. In fiscal year 2011, demand for TOEIC tests in Japan rose 30 percent, and TOEIC tests were taken by 2.27 million people compared with the 2.3 million taking Eiken.
Driving the trend is increased need for assessment of adult English for the workplace. Japanese companies are increasing their activities abroad, while new university graduates are facing a tough job market and see the advantage of adding an internationally recognized credential to their resumes.
While Eiken has tests for a number of different levels, its use is highest with its original audience of middle and high school students. Not widely recognized outside Japan, Eiken is not as useful as TOEIC for typical big picture goals such as those expressed by Takuro Hayashi, a student at Meiji Gakuin University: “I want to find a job which can utilize my English skills. I also want to study abroad. “
An official with the International Institute for Business Communication comments: "Companies are increasingly aware that unless their employees acquire English language skills, they can't survive. Because of the difficult job market, universities also have to put more effort into improving their students' business English skills."
Japan is not alone. The world as a whole is facing similar challenges, while countries such as the Unted States are also seeing an influx of non-native speakers that makes English language assessment important even for domestic employment. Therefore, not surprisingly, we also are seeing TOEIC testing growing bigger and bigger. Learn more about the TOEIC tests.