tweeday, the reason why german is easy for english-native speakers, is because it is relatively close on the language tree. French is an entirely different language from english and german, located on the italic-latin branch. English and german are from the germanic language branch, so relatively learning languages on the same branch are easier because the languages relate by similar words, sentence structure, etc. Learning a language outside of the branch, i.e. French, Greek, Japanese, etc., these are entirely different, wherein you must learn their new alphabet, etc. For example, japanese has no spaces in between words, sentence structure is extremely different from english, and their symbols represent parts of words, not letters.
The English language grew from the germanic language, relatively recently, about 1 to 2 thousand years ago. This is why the language is so similar to german, and how old-english was even more similar to german. Sorry for the late reply, but when talking about language difficulties, you should put natively-learned language in respect. (for japanese, chinese will be easier to learn than english natives, because japanese is associated with chinese (language), matter of fact they borrow chinese symbols for their language (kanji) and their katakana came from a simplification of chinese characters.)