Class Struggle

Robert Gilhooly / Bloomberg / Landov

Australian Natasha Steele, left, and Kristen Moon from the U.S., second from left, were among the Nova teachers who joined a demonstration against unfair practices toward foreign workers by Japanese companies in Kawasaki City, Japan, on Friday, Nov. 2, 2007.

When Natasha Steele arrived in Japan from her native Australia earlier this year, the 26-year-old was looking forward to immersing herself in a foreign culture while preparing for a teaching career back home. She had joined Nova, Japan's largest chain of English-language schools, through its Sydney recruiting office, and was enjoying teaching her class full of rowdy kids. But in one of Japan's highest-profile corporate collapses in years, Nova announced on Oct. 26 that it would shutter its classrooms, locking out some 300,000 students and leaving 4,000 foreign teachers jobless, threatened with eviction and rapidly running out of money....

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