Some quick links re NOVA Bankruptcy


Hi Blog. The bankruptcy of NOVA, Japan’s erstwhile biggest eikaiwa school, is big news, so need not amplify it much more (I try to give cyberspace to issues less covered). But for the sake of completeness, here is something from Ken Worsley of Trans Pacific Radio, courtesy of Metropolis. Do a quick search of this blog for “NOVA” for a few links to other germane stories.

Arudou Debito in Kyoto


By Ken Worsley (

On the morning of Friday, October 26, a story appeared in the Yomiuri Shimbun announcing that Nova President Nozomu Sahashi had been ousted from his position at an emergency board meeting the previous night. The remaining three board members announced that the firm would file for court protection from creditors under the Corporate Rehabilitation Law.

Amid speculation that Sahashi has gone into hiding, a former Nova manager told us, “Sahashi probably hasn’t done a runner; he just didn’t turn up to the meeting last night, and he was always bad at turning up to meetings… Sahashi sent out a fax yesterday telling all employees that he had finally arranged it so that everyone would be paid. Then last night there was an emergency meeting where he was sacked, so that was a pretty big shock.”

An article published by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun the same morning stated that Nova was holding an eye-popping ¥43.9 billion in liabilities.

JASDAQ has announced that Nova trading was suspended on October 26, the day of the announcement, and that the firm would likely be delisted from the stock exchange as of November 27.

At the time of this writing, Nova has closed its doors, though this has been announced as a temporary measure. Thousands of employees, both Japanese and foreign, are all missing at least one paycheck and have been left waiting for news on their employer’s future.

On October 10, Nova announced that it had sold 400 equity warrants to two investment funds located in the British Virgin Islands. If exercised, these warrants would have created 200 million new shares in the company, with the investment funds paying ¥35 per share. Such a deal could have injected up to ¥7 billion into the ailing English language school operator.

Although those warrants could have been exercised from October 24, Nova’s share price remained too low for the option to be taken.

With the legality of that transaction in question, the JASDAQ has said that it will spend the next year examining how to create rules on such examples of corporate fund procurement via third parties.

Our source at Nova said he had never had much faith in Nova’s business plan. “The business model for Nova never really worked. They took money from customers and then spent it. They need a constant influx of money and, since the METI ban in June, there has been no money coming in and no new customers so the business simply couldn’t survive.”

Interviews with sources wishing to remain anonymous.

Research provided by Japan Inc. Magazine (

5 comments on “Some quick links re NOVA Bankruptcy

  • Hello,

    The Canadian Embassy sent out the following information about NOVA declaring bankruptcy. Naturally, the services that are provided by the embassy only apply to Canadians, but some of the other information may be useful to people who have concerns with their employment situation.

    By the way, if you are Canadian living in Japan, please consider registering with the embassy so that they can more easily assist you in times of trouble. (Other embassies may have similar programs.)

    —–Original Message—– RE: NOVA English School declares bankruptcy

    (La version française sera disponible et sera envoyée la semaine prochaine)

    Dear ROCA registrant,

    The Canadian Embassy has opted to send this message to all registrants on the Japan country profile, to ensure that we can reach as many Canadians affected by this situation as possible.

    If you know of any Canadians in your area of Japan who are not already registered in ROCA, please be sure to share the following information with them, and also take the opportunity to recommend registration. ********************************************* As you may have already heard in the news today (October 26), NOVA English school has filed for bankruptcy. In this message, the Embassy endeavours to communicate as much information as possible to assist you in planning your next steps.

    The Canadian Embassy is monitoring the situation and remains ready to receive enquiries and provide the best advice we can.

    Employees with concerns should consider contacting one of the two regional Nova offices which have been tasked with responding to employee queries, the workers’ union representing Nova employees, and their local labour advisory office. Contact details are: Nova – West Japan: Osaka Office (06) 7688-0404 – East Japan: Tokyo Office (03) 6688-4441 Nova has advised that it is in the process of putting related information for employees including questions and answers up on its website at

    General Union – Nova Branch: (06) 6352-9619

    The Osaka Labor Bureau, a local branch of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, has launched a consulting counter with five interpreters for foreign Nova instructors. Its phone number is 06-6344-1135

    The assistance that the Embassy of Canada is able to provide you is limited to that which is stipulated in the Consular Service Standards page,

    The Embassy is neither legal expert nor labour law specialist; we do not possess the expertise to be able to advise you on these topics thus we have been, and continue in, encouraging individuals to seek out subject- expert advice from local providers. The following is a list of contacts for services and official Japanese advisory organisations that may be of assistance. Many are Tokyo-based but they should be able to direct you to resources in your vicinity:

    If you did wish to look into the option of hiring a private lawyer, the Embassy can provide a list of lawyers, some with English speaking services.

    The Houterasu is a nationwide legal support center which helps callers to locate professional support in civil and criminal matters. Phone: 0570-078374 Website: (Japanese language only)

    Tokyo Metropolitan Government Consultation Service for Foreigners: 03-5320-7744. They offer advice in English on a range of issues. Their opening times are: Monday to Friday, 9:30am – 12:00 noon and 1:30pm – 5pm.

    For employment and labour-specific advice, the following telephone number is for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Labour Advisory Service Centre for Foreigners: 03-5211-2346. They offer advice in English from 2:00pm to 4:00pm Monday to Friday.

    Also, many City Offices across Japan have foreign residents’ consultation services. You may wish to check with your local City Office to see what services they have available.

    If you have any employment/work visa questions (i.e. sponsored visas, changing employment), the best people to consult would be the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau: iic-01.html

    In the event of unemployment, we understand that some foreign employees in Japan may be eligible for unemployment benefits. We understand that it depends on what type of employment insurance the employee holds, as well as how long they have been working, and under what circumstances they ceased their employment. If you should wish to make enquiries as to whether you are eligible for unemployment benefits, you should consult with your local Hello Work Office. The following website advises of some Hello Work Offices that are able to offer foreign language assistance:

    Financial Issues:

    We understand that many of you have major concerns about this. The Embassy is available to assist you to contact your family or friends in Canada and facilitate private funds transfers between you and them should the need arise; however, we cannot provide financial funding for Canadians to remain overseas.

    Money transfer methods include wire deposits into a personal Japanese bank account (or a Canadian bank account accessible from Japan e.g. by ATM card), credit card account, or instant transfers via Western Union ( – Please note that the Japanese agent of which is Suruga Bank with branches located in the Tokyo, Kanagawa, Shizuoka and Aichi areas. Alternatively, your family member can contact the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada in Ottawa to obtain information on how to transfer funds through the department.

    If you are seeking alternative work in order to stay in Japan, you may wish to discuss your situation with your family and friends to ensure you have arrangements in place should the necessity for emergency funds arise. Also, please ensure to contact your nearest Immigration Bureau Office to obtain more information about changing jobs.

    If you are planning to go home to Canada anytime between now and the holiday season, we strongly encourage you to start making travel arrangements immediately. Mid-December marks the beginning of the holiday/ Christmas high season; consequently, airfares will rise significantly, and ticket availability will become scarce.

    Rates quoted to the Embassy as of Friday morning, October 26, 2007 are:

    Air Fare by H.I.S. (One-way ticket, in JPY) . Weekend rates 5,000 yen will be added to rates stated below. . After Dec 23, these airfares will go up by approximately 100,000 yen or more. . AC= Air Canada; UA= United Airlines

    NRT – Toronto Nov.01 – AC 103,000; UA 64,000 (via Chicago) Dec.01 – AC 103,000; UA 69,000 (via Chicago)

    NRT – Vancouver Nov. 01 – AC 74,000; UA 64,000 (via Chicago) Dec. 01 – AC 74,000; UA 69,000 (via Chicago)

    **************************************** KIX (Kansai Airport)- Toronto

    Nov. 01 AC 118,000; UA 66,000 (via San Fran) Dec 01 – AC 118,000; UA 66,000 (via San Fran)

    KIX – Vancouver Nov. 01 – AC 88,000; UA 66,000 (via San Fran) Dec 01 – AC 88,000; UA 66,000 (via San Fran)

    We hope that this information will be of use to you.

    Consular Section Embassy of Canada Tokyo, Japan

  • UK embassy to help Japan teachers

    The UK embassy in Tokyo has said it will help hundreds of teachers after Japan’s largest language schools chain filed for protection from creditors.

    Nova Corp, which mainly offers English classes, did not pay its 4,000 foreign staff for October, unions have said.

    In a statement, the embassy said it was unable to provide financial assistance to those affected, but could help them contact family and friends.

    It added that its officials were “closely monitoring the situation”.

    Major employers

    The statement also urged employees to contact regional Nova offices, local labour advisory centres and the General Union, which represents the company’s teachers.

    The firm, which mainly offers English classes, has more than 800 schools and 400,000 students across Japan.

    But in June, it was ordered to suspend part of its operations, after a court ruled it had misled customers in advertisements about some services.

    Since then, student enrolment has fallen sharply and Nova has accumulated debts of up to JPY50bn ($437m, £213m).

    Its 2,000 Japanese staff have not been paid since July, union officials said.

    Nova has now closed all its schools, Kyodo news agency said.

    A court-appointed trustee will sort out its debts and seek sponsors to rebuild its business, Japanese media reports said.

    Nova is one of Japan’s major employers of foreign nationals. Murdered Briton Lindsay Anne Hawker was working for Nova at the time of her death.

    Published: 2007/10/27 11:18:30 GMT

  • Recent Press Clips

    Oct. 26 (filing day) Nova Union Press Conference

      Nova Union Office Meeting 

    Nova Union Strike and Protest at Labor Standards Office

    Nova Union Strike and Protest plus Press Conference

    Nova Union June 19 Press Conference Special Proposal

    Nova Bunny Show, Assistant Language Teacher Special On NHK

    NUGW Tokyo Nambu – Nambu FWC

  • From: American Embassy Tokyo
    Date: Wed Oct 31, 2007 19:57:07 Asia/Tokyo

    Information for Americans employed by NOVA

    The U.S. Embassy is aware that NOVA filed for court protection on
    October 26, 2007 and has temporarily shut all of its schools in Japan.
    We are closely monitoring the situation.

    NOVA’s Foreign Personnel Section contact telephone number for East
    Japan is in Tokyo at (03) 6688-4441 and for West Japan is in Osaka at
    (06) 7688-0404. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has also
    announced that NOVA teachers may call the Employment Service Centers
    for Foreigners at the Hello Work Offices in Shinjuku at (03) 3204-8621
    and in Osaka at (06) 6344-1135 for advice. NOVA’s situation is
    changing rapidly, and you may wish to monitor our dedicated web page.


  • I feel sorry for all those involved but let us NOT be fooled,the place represented *ALL* that is wrong in this country regarding language teaching and attitudes to learning in general.
    Both teachers and students are responsible for the shameful state of language education in this country,not to mention the Education Boards concerned.(Didn’t Nova also have contracts to supply “teachers” to public schools?)
    One of my acquaintances happened to “know” Nova’s boss and everyone in the language business in Osaka knew this
    was bound to happen,in fact talk of it started some 8 years ago.
    If language education and learning in general need all the artificial means and ways this so-called school promoted and people are willing to pay to take an illussion of “ryugaku” into their “ocha-no-ma”,if schools in this country keep hiring teachers as “gaijin faces” and said “teachers” are willing to play the game,let them now bear the consequences.

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