Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nova Declares Bankruptcy, Canadian Embassy Tries to Help those Affected

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:
- 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 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.

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:

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 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