PM Blows Lid over Katakana Terms

Back to Contents of Issue: July 2002

PRIME MINISTER JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI just doesn't get it. If a company wants to save money, it may decide that autosooshingu its bakuofuisu work will save it money. And everybody knows that a fledgling company may benefit by starting out in an inkyubeetaa, right? The PM blew his lid in mid-May after hearing one too many of these katakana terms in a presentation about Japan's IT strategy.

The presenter, Toranosuke Katayama, the minister for public management, home affairs, posts and telecommunications, used about 30 katakana business terms in his presentation before Koizumi decided enough is enough. "What is bakuofuisu? Use clearer terms," the prime minister demanded.

When Katayama explained to the PM that the Japanese language just doesn't have the vocabulary yet for relatively new business concepts like outsourcing, back office and incubator. Koizumi retorted: "That's because you just literally translate them from English. If the citizens don't understand it, what's the point?"

Note: The function "email this page" is currently not supported for this page.