"A series of education reforms has been implemented in an attempt to improve English proficiency, so far with no measureable impact on adult skills."
It's those adults who are now running the show, creating or approving the poorly translated phrases in the train stations of Tokyo, the cafes of Kyoto, and the restaurant menus of any number of rural towns up and down the archipelago.
"There's a big industry in Japan hiring native English writers to revise translated Japanese, but the advice is not always taken," says Mark Robinson, an Australian Japanese based in Tokyo who works as a writer, editor, media consultant, and is the author of Izakaya: The Japanese Pub Cookbook.
Robinson suggests the people behind "Let's Drink. Get Drunk!" no doubt had good intentions, but that they may have misjudged the possible reaction to the notion of getting wasted at an international forum (especially among Westerners).
These Lost-in-Translation moments are not lost on Canadian freelance writer and editor Stephen McClure, who's seen plenty of this kind of thing in his 31 years living in Japan.
"A lot of [Japanese] take great pride in their English, and legitimately so," he says. "But because Japan is cut off in so many ways geographically and culturally from the global discourse, it tends to be a very academic brand of English. Some people put so much work into learning the language they're loath to admit a mistake. It's a pride thing."
McClure argues that what's lacking sometimes is a quality filter.
"It's not just a linguistic thing," he continues, referring back to the sake box. "It's possible someone might have known better, but they didn't want their superior or allegedly more knowledgeable person to lose face. That happens all the time."
Too often, if you ask Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa, former government advisor and adjunct professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo. Kurokawa, who chaired the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, argues conformity and "groupthink" allows for mistakes both big and small to get through.
But he also maintains that striving for perfection in spoken English is holding back Japanese leaders in government, academia, and business, sending the wrong message to young people.