By the way, I occasionally have a think about English education in Japan.
I always wonder why critics mostly blame the curriculum in middle and high schools, or sometimes even advocate the introduction of compulsory English classes in the lower grades of elementary schools.
In my opinion, a bigger problem lies in higher education. I hear many Korean and Chinese people take intensive English conversation classes while enrolled in universities. They can speak much better English than their Japanese counterparts.
As far as I know, textbook-based and discouraging English classes are still prevalent in Japanese universities, with the few possible exceptions like ICU.
As I wrote elsewhere, there has been collaboration between universities and English conversational schools. I think it's a welcome movement.
Another thing I feel necessary is a use of TOEFL test for admission of graduate schools.
In the field of natural sciences and engineering TOEFL test is already the standard, but in humanities and some social sciences it's not yet necessarily common. Adopting TOEFL test will reduce administrative work of professors, so there's little reason to oppose it.