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The Dirty Undertaking of Dispatch Companies

The Yomiuri Shimbun, via Yahoo!, has a story about the dark underbelly of ALT dispatch companies as English will become a compulsory subject in the fifth and sixth grades in 2011.

For example, schools have to deal with the constant turnover of ALTs. One BOE member in Saitama related that he is on his 4th ALT quit since April. This revolving door of teachers is not conducive to learning.

More Details on the Coming Change in Visa Renewals

The Japan Times has a good summary of the issues surrounding the changes to the visa renewal process starting in April 2010. I blogged about this a while back, but the Japan Times column covers some of the implications of having to enroll in an insurance scheme in order for foreigners to renew their work visas.

Eikaiwa in Bad Shape

Terrie Lloyd's column in Japan Today is supposed to be a look at the state of eikaiwa in Japan, but it's a poor effort stuffed with meaningless business-speak. Teaching English has been on a downward slide ever since Japan's asset bubble burst. The collapse of NOVA only served to make things worse. Let's take a look at the column.

New Immigration Law Passes

While I'm on the subject of immigration, the Lower House passed a bill on new residency rules last Friday.

The big changes:

Berlitz Drags its Feet

When we last saw Berlitz, it was suing five of its instructors and two officials of the National Union of General Workers (NUGW) Tokyo Nambu for ¥110 million in damages each on the grounds that their strike was illegal and that the union was trying to damage the company.

Revised Visa Renewal Procedures Starting in 2010

According to the Ministry of Justice, effective April 1, 2010, you will have to show your health insurance card--either kenko kokumin hoken (National Health Insurance) or shakai hoken (Company Health Insurance)--when you apply to renew your visa or change your visa status. If you do not belong to one of these plans, you will be encouraged (forced?) to join or your visa could possibly be revoked.

Tough Times

A propos my comment on now being a bad time to come to Japan, an example of how the economic meltdown affects English teachers:

Good Consumer, Bad Consumer

As Japan's economy began to meltdown last year, the Japan Times ran a couple of articles detailing how people were coping. One article was about a surge in the sales of bicycles while another noted how more and more people were turning to car-sharing as an alternative to owning a car.

Cycling back in fashion:

Berlitz Sues its Teachers

Great company to work for:

It has been 14 months since members of the Berlitz General Union Tokyo (Begunto) first downed chalk and launched rotating strikes against the language school Berlitz Japan.

The strike has grown into the longest and largest sustained strike by language teachers in Japan. While about 500 Nova teachers struck during that firm's collapse in 2007, the action only lasted a day.

G.com/G.edu: We're Sorry, Please Come Back

The General Union has posted details of an agreement between G.communication/G.education on their website. As you are aware, ever since NOVA went bankrupt, the General Union has been busy trying to get G.communication to rehire all of the instructors that were fired when G.com took over. It appears that they have succeeded.

Eikaiwa: 

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