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GBC sample answer: Effects of changes in Japanese lifestyle

Japanese woman working
Japanese women add diversity to the workplace

This time, we are going to look at a question that naturally follows the issue of how the Japanese lifestyle has changed over the last 10 years, which was considered in a previous blog.

Here is the question we’ll look at today: Describe one positive and one negative aspect of these changes?

Here is my sample answer:

One positive change is an increase in the diversity of the workplace. It is obviously beneficial for companies to have employees with a variety of backgrounds, so the presence of more women enriches this environment and improves the products and services that companies offer. On the other hand, one negative aspect of the changes in the Japanese lifestyle is that the population is decreasing with the result that the Japanese market is shrinking and products can no longer be sold so easily in Japan. This, in turn, means that smaller companies, and especially start-ups, struggle to become established and to expand in the domestic market. Consequently, they find it even harder to expand into foreign markets. Overall, I feel that the benefits of these changes outweigh the drawbacks, so that is definitely a good sign for Japan.

This would be regarded as a good answer because:

  1. The structure of the answer is very clear and so it flows very smoothly, which makes it coherent* and effective. The positive change is mentioned together with its consequence, then the negative change is mentioned, together with its consequences. Finally, the positive and negative changes are  considered together and summarized:
    1. the positive change: an increase in the diversity of the workplace.
    2. the consequence: the presence of more women enriches the working environment and improves the products and services that companies offer.
    3. the negative change: the Japanese population is decreasing.
    4. the consequence: the Japanese market is shrinking and products can no longer be sold so easily in Japan.
    5. further consequences: smaller companies, and especially start-ups, struggle to become established and to expand in the domestic market/they find it even harder to expand into foreign markets.
    6. the summary: the benefits of these changes outweigh the drawbacks, so that is definitely a good sign for Japan
  2. It uses linking words and phrases to good effect:
    1. on the other hand…
    2. with the result that…
    3. this in turn…
    4. consequently…
    5. overall...
      These connect the elements of the answer and give it a tight structure.

The vocabulary used is concise** and relatively sophisticated: words like diversity, enriches and outweigh are descriptive and effective.


*coherent = clear and carefully considered, each aspect connecting or following in a natural or reasonable way
**concise = short and clear, expressing what needs to be said without unnecessary words