The camera has a dynamic focus that I am pretty sure can take close shots, but not that close. This particular lense will take average distances from say 3-5" (do not have the specifics) to scenery. The only issue that I do not like about this camera is that the flash has a slight design flaw, sometimes when you use the flash the lens will shadow the lower portion of your picture. The camera in general is awesome, slight that small detail. You can check a little more expert opinion in dpreview (google it). They can give you more specs of the camera. Good luck!
I checked in my camera and there seems only to be English, Spanish and Portuguese. This is not to say that perhaps panasonic might have language attachments, but I cannot guarantee that. Hope it helps.
This camera has a touch screen, which is easy to use,plus an easy to use menu, as far as needing a lens
that is more then 8x, it all depends on personal use, but in most cases, their would be no practical need for
a lens that is greater than 8x. I hope that I answered your most important questions and good luck.