Notice to Australians Employed by NOVA in Japan

This information was posted on the Australian Government's website.

http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/TravelBulletins/Notice_to_Australians_Employed_by_NOVA_in_Japan

This Bulletin is current for Monday, 29 October 2007.
The Bulletin was issued on Friday, 26 October 2007, 17:03:23, EST.

The Australian Government is aware of concerns regarding payment of wages to NOVA employees, and we are closely monitoring the situation. It has been reported that NOVA filed for court protection from creditors on 26 October 2007 and under the Japanese Corporate Rehabilitation Law an administrator will be appointed by the court. We have been informed that all NOVA schools are currently closed.

This notice is to Australians affected by the ongoing difficulties faced by NOVA. There are limits as to how much we can become involved as it is a private employment issue under the jurisdiction of the Japanese legal system. The Australian Government can provide consular assistance to Australians overseas. What we can and cannot do is explained in our at Consular Services Charter.

Where to Get Help and Information


The following information and contacts of local services and Japanese advisory organisations may be of assistance.

The Foreign Personnel Sections of NOVA handles enquiries regarding unpaid salaries and unpaid rent. Their contact phone numbers are:

East Japan: Tokyo office (03) 6688 4441

West Japan: Osaka office (06) 7688 0404

The Japanese General Union has a Nova specific webpage and has published information about NOVA and as well as advice for employees. Their webpage is http://www.generalunion.org/nova/.

The General Union also offered advice in an article which appeared in the Japan Times: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20070925a1.html

The Australia-Asia Centre for Education Exchange has posted some relevant information on their website regarding welfare issues for NOVA instructors: http://www.workinjapan.com.au

For the Tokyo region, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Consultation Service for Foreigners, telephone (03) 5320 7744, offers advice in English on a range of issues. Their opening times are: Monday to Friday, 9:30am - 12:00 noon and 1:30pm - 5pm. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Labour Advisory Service Centre for Foreigners, telephone (03) 5211 2346, offers employment and labour specific advice in English from 2:00pm to 4:00pm Monday to Friday. Please contact the Australian Embassy and Consulates if you need further information about services in your area.

Legal Advice

If you did wish to look into the option of hiring a private lawyer, the Embassy can provide a list of lawyers with English speaking services. These lists of lawyers for various regions of Japan are also available at http://www.consular.australia.or.jp/legal.html

Unemployment Benefits

In the event of unemployment, foreign employees in Japan may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Eligibility 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. 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 the contact details of Hello Work Offices that offer English language assistance: http://www.tfemploy.go.jp/en/coun/cont_2.html

Returning to Australia

For Australians considering returning to Australia, airlines have informed the Embassy that air-fares are relatively low in November and that seats are generally available. However airlines have indicated that air-fares will increase substantially in December and then increase further at Christmas time, which is a peak travel season in Japan. Availability of seats is likely to reduce significantly. Australians should factor flight availability and increasing air-fares in to any decisions regarding returning to Australia.

Following discussions with the Australian Government, Qantas has advised that for a limited period it will be offering a reduced air-fare rate for Australian NOVA employees who wish to return to Australia. Enquiries (including about conditions and availability) should be directed to the Qantas Tokyo office on (03) 3593 7000.

Contingency Planning and Transfer of funds

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. Money transfer methods include wire deposits into a personal Japanese bank account (or an Australian bank account accessible from Japan eg by ATM card), credit card account, or instant transfers via Western Union (www.westernunion.com). The Japanese agent of Western Union is the Suruga Bank, with branches located in the Tokyo, Kanagawa, Shizuoka and Aichi areas.

We would encourage Australians to be proactive and research their rights and ensure they have a fall back safety net. In the event that you experience difficulties, the Embassy may be able to assist you to contact your family or friends in Australia. We cannot provide financial assistance except under very limited circumstances.

Consular Assistance and Contact Details

For Australians requiring further information or urgent consular assistance, please contact your nearest Australian mission. The contact details for the Australian Embassy and Consulates in Japan are attached below:

Australian Embassy Tokyo
2-1-14 Mita
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8361
Tel: 03-5232-4111
Fax: 03-5232-4057
E-mail: auscitzreg.tokyo@dfat.gov.au
Web: http://www.consular.australia.or.jp

Australian Consulate-General Osaka
16F Twin 21 MID Tower
2-1-61 Shiromi, Chuo-ku
Osaka 540-6116
Tel: 06-6941-9448
Fax: 06-6920-4543
E-mail: Osaka.Japan@austrade.gov.au
Web: http://www.consular.australia.or.jp/osaka/

Australian Consulate-General Fukuoka
7th Floor, Tenjin Twin Building
1-6-8 Tenjin, Chuo-ku
Fukuoka 810-0001
Tel: 092-734-5055
Fax: 092-734-5058
E-mail: Fukuoka.Japan@austrade.gov.au
Web: http://www.consular.australia.or.jp/fukuoka/

Australian Consulate Sapporo
17th Floor, Sapporo Centre Building
North 5, West 6-2, Chuo-ku
Sapporo 060-0005
Tel: 011-242-4381
Fax: 011-242-4383
E-mail: Sapporo.Japan@austrade.gov.au
Web: http://www.consular.australia.or.jp/sapporo/

Australian Consulate Nagoya
Level 13, AMMNAT Bldg.
1-3-3 Sakae, Naka-ku
Nagoya 460-0008
Tel: 052-211-0630
Fax: 052-211-0632
E-mail: Nagoya.Japan@austrade.gov.au
Web: http://www.consular.australia.or.jp/nagoya/

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