Ever since the Meiji era, worshiping of Western culture has covered the whole of Japan. Western/European white men and women are making a lot of use in the current television commercials.
Japanese really use English and foreign language for everything: name of companies, products, cars or apartments etc. Many of the lyrics of Japanese pops partially incorporate English…… “Partially”. Printed random English words on T-shirt is also quite famous as its weird Japanese thing . I doubt if they have their pride as Japanese or not.
When it comes to a situation that Japanese people talking to a foreigners on the street, they tend to not hesitate at all to start speaking in English even if they are not good at it. It maybe comes from kindness of Japanese people. That could be a right choice if they obviously look tourists because they’re here mostly for just fun. But if they know they are living in Japan for more than a year for example, it’s better to speak in Japanese at first.
It may be better to reconsider the following points when Japanese people finding foreigners and speaking to them in English.
1. The foreigners may want to speak Japanese
2. If the foreigners is from an English-speaking country, starting a conversation with “poor” English will put themselves in a disadvantageous position
3. They could be depriving opportunities from foreigners to speak Japanese
4. Do not treat the foreigners as a teaching material
(In case the foreigner is living in Japan for more than a year for example, it all depends on the case)
Of course, it is a difficult language for foreigners to master so some of them feel relieved when Japanese try to speak in English. Or I know many foreigners living in Japan for so long but they don’t care if they improve their Japanese or not. They simply wanted a life here.
But Japan is not their country. Following the way of the country is simply clever. If you live in that country, it’s a good idea to be speaking in the local language and eventually you will have a positive effect on each other.