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November 02, 2005

Casualties of the Kid's Eikaiwa War

Two companies that ran a nationwide business sending English teachers to students' homes have gone bankrupt. Aube Education System, based in Saitama City, and Tokyo-based Educare System, which pamphlets describe as group companies, filed for bankruptcy at the Tokyo District Court on October 28 with combined debts of around ¥4.8 billion. They jointly ran the "Bing Bang Boom Club Kodomo Eikaiwa" service which, as of August this year, was sending teachers to about 21,000 homes. The companies are said to be very unlikely to be able to return about ¥800 million in tuition fees that some 4,300 customers paid for three years' tuition in advance. Another ¥110 million in outstanding payments is due to around 2,700 teachers, who only found out about the situation when notified by the court. Aube was established in 1995 and ran businesses in 16 prefectures. Educare was set up in 2001 and had operations in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka. Their eikaiwa service sent Japanese teachers of English to the homes of children aged from infancy to first grade, who generally took four 45-minute lessons a month. Parents paid on average ¥360,000 for three years.
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