Japan and Great Britain are both island nations with long histories. Nationalists in both nations like to emphasise the things that separate members of ‘our’ nation from others across the sea, and this includes language. In the British case the arrogant assumption that ‘everyone else can learn English’ has led to a serious decline in the number of students who study foreign languages. In Japan, a certain amount of English is understood to be necessary for practical purposes, but nationalists warn against too much immersion in the language of an alien culture. These attitudes have helped to undermine the provision of advanced foreign language education that is necessary in a globalized world.