AUSTRALIANS are among hundreds of foreign teachers who had been hoping for fresh jobs to start the new year but remain unemployed after a firm taking over part of the collapsed Nova language school chain stopped hiring.
Nova, whose schools were once ubiquitous across Japanese cities, filed for bankruptcy protection in October, leaving thousands of foreign teachers without income.
Nagoya-based G.communication was selected by Nova’s rehabilitation administrators to take over the running of some schools and had hired 1647 foreign teachers by today.
But the company said it was also rejecting applications of some 600 foreign instructors from Nova.
G.communication plans to open only 126 of the 600 schools originally operated by Nova throughout the nation, the company said.
The diversified corporation already runs English schools in northern Japan along with other businesses such as restaurant chains.
“Other companies in the group also have needs for workers,” the statement said.
The company acknowledged that most of the 600 rejected teachers had hoped to start working from January.
The firm had given them ¥150,000 ($1508) each in financial support for the holiday season, with many of the teachers taking trips home.
Nova had an estimated 400,000 students and 6000 employees on its books, 4500 of them foreigners – many of them young people looking to spend a few years in Japan.
Embassies of English-speaking nations had started helplines for former Nova teachers, some of whom had declared they were ready to offer language lessons in exchange for food.
Foreigners with few skills other than speaking their native languages were able to make a comfortable living teaching in Japan at the height of the 1980s economic boom, but the jobs have since become less lucrative.
Nova was founded in 1981 and became the leader in the industry. It filed for protection from creditors four months after the government ordered it to halt part of its operations over insufficient refunds for students.