Both Japan and Hong Kong seek to enhance the English standard of their secondary school students by implementing a native-speaking English teachers scheme, named the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Programme in Japan and the NET (Native-speakingEnglish Teachers)Scheme in Hong Kong. However, the implications of these programmes seemto be sociopoliticalmore than educational.As for Japan, JET is a consequence of an explicit political strategy to promote international relationships. The Japanese Government is keen to bring up a generation that is able to understand other countries yet retain Japanese national consciousness. On the surface, the Hong Kong NET Scheme seems to be a more straightforward language improvement programme. However, the Japanese experience suggests another level of analysis. The Hong Kong Government is never as explicit as Japan as to what it wants to achieve through the NET Scheme. Though NET is claimed to be a language improvement scheme, there is no evidence to show how effectivelythis kind of programme can work in local Hong Kong secondary schools. With a special interest in the ideologies behind the two language improvement programmes, this paper attempts to explore their sociopolitical and cultural meanings beyond their educational surface. Copyright © 1999 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.