The big news at the office today was that Geos (one of Japan's largest English conversation school chains, and my school's main competitor) filed bankruptcy earlier this week. The early warning signs (school consolidation, delayed salary payment, and most recently the closing of the company's Australian schools) have been muttered and chuckled over by gossiping gaijin since I've been in Japan, but I didn't expect the end to come this soon. It's too early to tell what this could mean for the eikaiwa business or for the hundreds of gaijin employed by Geos, but word has it that the same company who bought out many of the Nova schools is taking over a piece of the Geos empire. You can read more about the bankruptcy here and here (or peruse my entry on Nova's nosedive for some background info).
The fall of Nova and Geos within the span of three years raises further doubts about the ability of the giant eikaiwa chains to effectively push their cookie-cutter lessons and high-pressure sales strategies across Japan. Whether my own employer is destined to collapse is anyone's guess, but it'd be downright foolish to not consider the possibility as part of any long-term Japan plan. I'll be following this issue with great interest.