This study examines the use of syntactic and lexical downgraders by Japanese EFL learners in order to mitigate requests in high imposition situations to listeners of higher status. The relationships between learners' use of syntactic and lexical downgraders, and their grammatical competence and time spent in an English-speaking environment, were analyzed. Their request realizations were also compared with those of Native Speakers. In general the learners demonstrated the ability to use appropriate syntactical downgrading but an inability to use appropriate lexical downgrading. Reasons for this are discussed along with suggestions as to how instruction could have a more positive effect on the acquisition of forms of mitigation.