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July 07, 2003

Windthird Pres., Employees Arrested

Five people have been arrested for using strong-arm methods to enroll students at Windthird Consolidated Institute. They include Daiji Saito (51), president of Right Stuff, the Tokyo firm behind the school. He and the employees are accused of luring prospective students to their Osaka school with the offer of a free trial English conversation lesson. They then used verbal and physical intimidation to get the students to sign up. If they refused, the accused demanded exhorbitant cancellation fees, making references to ganster connections. The arrests were for seven such cases between February and April of this year. Like many eikaiwa schools, Windthird employees have quotas and are paid based on how many students they get to sign up. Training manuals include such instructions as to never take no for an answer when recruiting students. Windthird schools opened in Tokyo in 1989, in Osaka and Fukuoka in 1990, and in Nagoya in 2000.

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