It's getting close to Obon, so it's time for a ghost story.
Yano Research has released its latest survey of the foreign language market, which shows that the market is still in decline.
The two key findings are:
Blue line shows foreign language market. Magenta line shows foreign language market minus peripheral businesses such as testing, homestays, and translation and interpretation.
Take a wild guess as to why this is so. OK, pencils down. The answer is: NOVA, although the company is not explicitly named. For some reason, in their summary of the survey [PDF], Yano Research tip-toes around NOVA, attributing the decline to a lingering distrust caused by the bankruptcy of the industry's top school in October 2007 (当時業界トップであった事業者が 2007 年 10 月に破綻した影響).
Still, they believe the market will slowly recover and stabilize. The summary notes the following positive trends:
Yano Research forecasts that the current economic downturn will hurt many in the foreign language business and expects the foreign language market (including peripheral businesses) to fall another 3.7%. They see things improving in the medium term as elementary schools are slated to make English a compulsory subject in 2011, which should also boost demand for children's lessons. English lessons for adults are also expected to improve as demand for corporate lessons remains strong.
So there you have it -- NOVA still haunts Japan from its grave.