Photo/IllutrationSingapore and Malaysia are rated “very high” while Japan, China and Thailand are rated “low” on this map that shows English proficiency in Asia. (Provided by EF Education First)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Japan’s ranking in terms of English proficiency continued its slide to a distant 49th on a list of 88 non-English-speaking countries and regions, according to a Swiss-based international language education organization.

And for three straight years, Japan was rated two (low) on a scale up to five (very high).

EF Education First, which operates in 116 countries and regions, has administered a free online exam to determine its English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) and publicized the rankings since 2011.

Scores from 1.3 million participants, including a few thousand from Japan, were analyzed this year for the index.

“The gap between Japan and other countries is growing relatively wider,” said Sang-Chul Lee, president of EF Education First Japan Ltd.

Sweden topped the list, while Singapore, at No. 3, was the highest ranking nation or region in Asia.

On the 2011 list, Japan was ranked No. 14 among 44 countries and regions, but it has since been tumbling down the standings.

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Ranking of major countries and regions in English proficiency

1 Sweden

2 Netherlands

3 Singapore

4 Norway

5 Denmark

6 South Africa

7 Luxembourg

8 Finland

9 Slovenia

10 Germany

30 Hong Kong

31 South Korea

32 Spain

34 Italy

35 France

42 Russia

47 China

48 Taiwan

49 Japan

53 Brazil

87 Iraq

88 Libya