This paper reexamines a long lasting controversy over teachers' first language (L1) use in foreign language classroom settings. In many EFL (English as a foreign language) countries, this topic has recently aroused a fresh discussion on the pedagogical values and functions of the learners' L1 in the classroom. Similarly, following the world-wide trend of globalization, the Japanese Government has mandated a fundamental principle of conducting English classes in English in the recent revision of the Course of Study for Upper Secondary School (2009). However, it is arguable whether exclusive use of the target language (TL) is common in any learning context. In order to identify the present situation of teachers' use of L1 (Japanese) in classrooms in Japan, this study was conducted among 109 English-major Japanese university students with a questionnaire designed to collect their retrospective reports on teachers' L1 use while they were in senior high school. In addition, the result was compared with Littlewood and Yu's (2011) study in Hong Kong and mainland China. As a result, a varying degree of the teachers' L1 use was identified and a basic guideline was offered for an efficient L1 use in the English language classroom.