Japan is indeed a very English-friendly country for one that does not have English has its official or government language. Bilingual street or transportation-related signs (Japanese-English) are the norm, not just in Tokyo, but in most Japanese cities.

If that is normal in almost any country in international airports, few European countries actually have street signs or maps in English. Government buildings, big shopping centres and some major companies also generally have bilingual signs. Amazon Japan has an English-version, but Amazon France and Amazon Germany don't, despite the fact that much more English speakers reside in France than in Japan. Budget business hotel chains like Toyoko-inn, have websites with complete English translation (not just a few practical pages like Amazon), and signs in the hotel both in Japanese and English too. Many restaurants (especially chains) have menus in English, which is rarely the case in most European countries.

Japanese people all have to learn English at school (and cannot choose another foreign language in most schools). There are more English conversation (Eikaiwa) schools per square metre in Japan than anywhere else on earth.

Movies in cinemas are usually in original version with subtitles, contrarily to big European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain) where they are dubbed. Even the national TV channel NHK provides bilingual programmes (including the news). All the major Japanese newspapers or news agencies (Asahi, Yomiuri, Mainichi, Kyodo...) have an English-translation of the major news, updated on a daily basis. There is even the Japan Times, written in English only, yet directed at both a foreign and Japanese audience. In comparison, European newspapers almost never have an English translation. France's great newspapers like Le Figaro or Le Monde are in French only. In a multilingual country like Belgium, rather than translate the news in both Dutch and French, newspapers are completely separated, and never have an English translation. In non-English speaking EU countries in general, the only English newspapers or news websites both in English and the country's languages are pan-European ones like EuroNews. I can only think of Deutsche Welle, which has news in both German and English (along 28 other languages !). In that sense, Japan is very English-friendly.

What I find somewhat odd is that the English craze has gone so far in Japan that many signs (and sometimes even ads) are provided in English only, despite being used mostly by Japanese people. I have created a special gallery of pictures to illustrate this phenomenon.

Has English become Japan's second language, like in Hong Kong (and somehow also Shanghai) ?