● Write an essay on the given TOPIC.
● Give THREE reasons to support your answer.
● Structure: Introduction, main body, and conclusion
● Suggested length: 200–240 words


2019年1月実施 英検1級

Is a worldwide ban on weapons of mass destruction an attainable goal?

― 解答例 ―

How wonderful it would be if weapons of mass destruction (WMD), such as nuclear bombs and chemical weapons, disappear from the world! Unfortunately, however, this looks unlikely to happen.

To begin with, it is essential for countries that want to keep being influential world powers to possess nuclear weapons. As a matter of fact, for the world’s current great powers, such as the United States and Russia, nuclear capabilities have been and will be a bargaining chip that they need when they try to achieve political aims.

In addition, some kinds of WMD, like biological and chemical weapons, are easy to manufacture and easy to hide. Even if countries around the world agreed to ban WMD, terrorists and certain rogue states would be able to continue developing such weapons without being detected.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, tensions between the United States and Russia have been rising since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Some people say the two countries, which possess more than 90 percent of all nuclear weapons in the world, are already in a new cold war. In order to keep each other in check, both the countries have no choice but to continue to possess nuclear weapons.

I do hope the day will come when all the people can live in peace in a world where there are no WMD, but for the above reasons, I think that might just be a pipe dream.


― 大意 ―







― 人文学の学位取得は無意味なことか? ―

2018年10月実施 英検1級

Has a university degree in the humanities lost its relevance in today’s world?


― 解答例 ―

Some say that in the age of technological innovations, such as smart phones, smart watches and even smart houses, it is a waste of time and money to pursue a humanities degree. However, I disagree with this idea.

Our world is becoming smaller because of the so-called globalization. To communicate with people of different countries without misunderstandings, it is necessary to study not only their languages but their cultures, traditions and so on. Historically speaking, some conflicts between nations have resulted from misunderstanding each other. In a sense, studying the humanities is essential to keep world peace.

Certainly, today’s job market tends to be more favorable for STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) graduates than for humanities graduates. However, through studying art, literature and philosophy, students majoring in the humanities can nurture their creativity. Creativity is what fosters transferable skills, like problem solving and effective communication skills. Student job seekers who have these skills will definitely impress potential employers at job interviews.

It is impossible to separate science from the humanities in the first place. Science requires enormous creativity and, as mentioned above, creativity is nurtured through humanities study. Science cannot exist without the humanities. As you know, Leonardo Da Vinci was a scientist and an artist.

The humanities and science are intertwined, both being essential for our future and that of our children. It would be thoughtless to consider a humanities degree as losing its relevance in today’s world.


― 大意 ―







― 日本は夏季五輪から総合的に利益を得るのか? ―

2018年6月実施 英検1級

Agree or disagree: Japan will benefit overall from hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics.

― 解答例 ―

With the Tokyo Summer Olympics coming in about two years, the wave of foreign tourists to Japan is growing bigger. Given this situation, some people might be tempted to think Japan will benefit overall from hosting the Olympics. However, I disagree for the following reasons.

To begin with, Tokyo is one of the world’s most densely populated cities where more than 13 million people live. It is easy to imagine the Tokyo Games will flood the already-crowded public transport systems with even more tourists. Residents’ daily routines will be influenced for the worse.

It is expected that the 2020 Olympics will see the Japanese welcoming the world with the spirit of “Omotenashi,” or Japanese hospitality. Actually, however, Japanese are very shy about speaking in English. It is likely that some Japanese will try to avoid interacting with foreign tourists in and around the Olympic venues, ending up disappointing most of the foreigners.

Finally, international sporting events, including the Olympics, should be held in countries where younger generation predominates the larger portion of their population. This is because sports are mainly for younger people. As you know, Japan is now categorized as a super-aged society. It is hard to imagine that more than half the Japanese elderly rejoiced from their hearts when Tokyo was chosen as the host country for the 2020 Olympics in 2013.

For the above three reasons, I am afraid the Japanese government may regret hosting the Olympics.


― 大意 ―







― 日米関係を見直すべきか? ―

2018年1月実施 英検1級

Should Japan rethink its relationship with the United States?

*We Are Tomodachi!

― 解答例 ―

Japan should continue the current relationship with the United States for the following reasons.

There is no doubt Japan needs the US presence now more than ever. Japan is facing increasingly serious threats to its security from China. With China’s provocative acts escalating, the number of scrambles by Japan Air Self-Defense Force fighters is rising. Japan has no choice but to rely on the protection of the United States.

It is obvious that the United States has the world’s mightiest military. There is no country in the world that has a military that can beat the US. In a sense, Japan is lucky to be in a security alliance with the world’s mightiest country. As the saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them.”

The United States has been playing important roles in resolving regional disputes throughout the world. As one of the world’s leading democratic powers, Japan has been taking part by providing logistical support to the US military. It is thanks to the U.S. that Japan can contribute to world peace without employing military force.

About 70 years ago, Japan and the United States were fighting each other. A countless number of people were killed or injured. After the war, however, the U.S. helped Japan make a democratic society, achieve a remarkable recovery and become an economic superpower. Kizuna (bond) between Japan and the U.S. is a role model for lots of countries. It must not be terminated.


― 大意 ―







― 移民を奨励すべきか? ―

2017年10月実施 英検1級

Should developed nations encourage immigration from other countries?

― 解答例 ―

Many developed countries, including Japan, have been facing a declining birthrate and an aging population. To stabilize their labor force, immigration will be inevitable to some extent. I think, however, we should refrain from encouraging immigration for the following reasons: deterioration of public safety, increase of unemployment rate, and language barrier.

Firstly, the more immigrants a country receives, the more easily terrorists can slip into the country posing as immigrants. It is almost impossible for ordinary people in developed countries to distinguish immigrants dreaming of making better lives for themselves from terrorists dreaming of making mountains of dead bodies.

Secondly, immigrants reduce the native-born workers’ wages and take their jobs. As you know, most employers prefer to hire foreign workers because they demand lower wages. The more immigrants a country gets, the higher the unemployment rate of workers born in the country is.

Finally, it is pretty tough to overcome language barriers. Most of the immigrants end up working in low-skilled, low-wage occupations because of the barriers. That means their children cannot receive a good education at private schools. Getting trapped in a cycle of poverty, they cannot but bear grudges towards society for their miserable states. Actually, most of the young terrorists who staged two waves of attacks in France in 2015 were children of immigrants from North Africa and Middle East.

For these reasons, immigration should not be encouraged. It brings bad luck to both natives and immigrants.


― 大意 ―







― 言論の自由に対する制限は正当化できるか? ―

2017年6月実施 英検1級

Can restrictions on freedom of speech ever be justified?

― 解答例 ―

As long as we live in a democratic society, we are allowed to say and write what we feel no matter what gender or race we are. One of the most important pillars of democracy is freedom of speech. Restricting freedom of speech equals restricting democracy. Nevertheless, I think free speech should have certain limitations.

To begin with, some people have the wrong idea of freedom and carry it to extremes. Unfortunately, they believe they are given rights to be offensive and insulting to particular individuals under the pretext of freedom of speech. Uttering words that slander and defame others is not freedom of speech but freedom of insult.

Also, the problem is that freedom of speech includes even false speech. As you know, false speech is very harmful. It can mislead the public and decision-makers, ending up damaging democracy. Therefore, some restrictions on free speech are necessary to save democracy from being destroyed.

And finally, freedom of speech, coupled with the anonymity of the Internet, helps release the dark side of human nature lurking inside us all. In fact, when we express our opinions on the Internet, we are more likely to be aggressive, selfish and antisocial. We need regulations that control our own dark side.

For the above reasons, I believe imposing certain restrictions on free speech can be justified. We should keep in mind that living in a democratic society comes with not only rights, but responsibilities.


― 大意 ―







― 死刑は禁止すべきか? ―

2017年1月実施 英検1級

Should the death penalty be banned in Japan?

― 解答例 ―

The death penalty is cruel and inhumane punishment. I think, however, Japan should retain it.

To begin with, the existence of the death penalty as a possible sanction deters serious crimes. If it were to be eliminated, murder rates would skyrocket. There are, unfortunately, a certain number of people who are born essentially evil and behave in an orderly fashion only when forced to by severe punishment. To protect society, we need the law of “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.”

Opponents of the death penalty say it should be replaced by life imprisonment without parole. However, keeping villains in prison for the rest of their lives is nothing but a burden on taxpayers. Instead of wasting taxes on useless people, the government should spend the money assisting bereaved families of victims.

Some say capital punishment violates human rights because it denies the right to life. However, human rights should include not only the right to life but the rights, such as, to lead ordinary lives. Obviously, what most victims’ families want is to have the perpetrators hanged. But as long as the killers are alive, the bereaved cannot but live their lives with despair and grudge. Isn’t this a violation of human rights?

Certainly, death-row inmates are forced to spend the rest of their lives in psychological torments awaiting their execution, but we must not forget they shattered the lives of innocent people.


― 大意 ―







― 非民主主義国家に民主化を促すべきか? ―

2016年度10月実施 英検1級

Should democratic nations actively promote the spread of democracy to nondemocratic nations?


I do not think promoting democratization in nondemocratic nations brings good results.

In democratic nations, people choose their leaders by voting. Citizens are required to be responsible for their nations. In reality, however, the majority of citizens are laymen in politics. They vote for candidates who have more name recognition, ending up giving birth to TV personality-turned-politicians. Ironically, in a sense, democracy contributes to shaking the stability of governments. Because of that, democracy is suitable for only such nations as are already economically and politically stable to a certain degree.

Then, democracy respects the will of the people. When they make laws to resolve problems, democratic governments need to gain consent from the majority, and in some cases from the minority. The procedure, however, prevents the governments from taking immediate actions in unexpected emergency situations. Democracy is, therefore, unsuitable for countries experiencing unstable social conditions, such as armed conflicts and insurgencies.

Finally, political interventions in other countries only make their situations worse. In fact, the US’s democratization of Iraq is said to have opened the door for terrorists and turned Arab countries into hotbeds of terrorism. We might say that owing to the US’s attempts to spread democracy, countless innocent citizens have been killed by the terrorists.

I am truly grateful that I was born and have been raised in the democratic nation. However, for the above reasons, I do not think democratic nations should foster democracy around the world.









― 世界平和は達成できるのか? ―

2016年度6月実施 英検1級

Agree or disagree: World peace is an achievable goal


I do not agree with the statement that world peace is an achievable goal. Sadly, it is very difficult to “imagine all the people living life in peace.”

First of all, human beings are essentially brutal, savage creatures. Human history has witnessed countless conflicts and wars in which numerous people have been killed. The last century alone witnessed two horrendous world wars and several genocides. Our human nature keeps us from naturally living at peace with one another.

Next, economic growth is uneven around the world. In the age of globalization, the gap between rich countries and poor ones is widening fast. Unfortunately, many people in poor countries are not even given a chance to receive a basic education and, as a result, are forced to live from hand to mouth. Such economic inequalities produce terrorism because terrorism is the ultimate expression of hopelessness.

Lastly, the production of state-of-the-art weapons, such as stealth bombers and nuclear submarines, is sustained by the developments of science and technology. At the same time, our comfortable daily lives are also sustained by the developments of science and technology. The only way to create a world without weapons is to dismiss science and technology, but it is unrealistic.

I do not think, however, that we should give up hope of making the world a utopia envisioned by John Lennon’s song, “Imagine,” for I believe it is the hope that prevents humans from falling into despair.









― 途上国の経済発展は環境保護よりも優先されるべきか? ―

2015年度12月発表 サンプル問題

Should economic development be a higher priority for developing countries than environmental protection?


Some people say that developing countries should not put a higher priority on economic development than on environmental protection. However, I disagree with the idea for the following reasons.

Firstly, environmental protection is incompatible with economic growth. Certainly, how wonderful it would be if economic growth could go hand-in-hand with environmental protection! However, so far, no countries have achieved economic prosperity without the use of a huge amount of electricity, most of which has been generated from the combustion of fossil fuels. After all, nothing comes from nothing. Human beings can get something new only by sacrificing something else.

Secondly, it is unreasonable that developing nations are expected to put environmental concerns ahead of economic ones by developed nations that are enjoying high standards of living. Needless to say, it is developed nations that have long sacrificed the environment to achieve economic growth. Such nations do not deserve to speak about environmental issues unless they are ready to give up their comfortable living conditions.

And finally, economic growth results in better public health. Many people in developing countries are living in unhygienic conditions, susceptible to disease. Improvements in water supply and sanitation lead to a decrease in death rates. Ironically, protecting the environment in developing countries does not lead to protecting the lives of the people living there.

For these reasons, I believe that developing nations should be encouraged to put a higher priority on economic development than on environmental protection.