The anonymous correspondent Feb. 3 wrote that the government just let Nova fall. Certainly, the government stood by as the company collapsed, but it also had a more active role in its downfall. There’s a tendency among former teachers to blame only management for Nova’s downfall, and it’s true that enormous greed and groundbreaking incompetence brought the company to its knees. But, presented with an opportunity to help it back to its feet, the trade and industry ministry chose instead to smack it round the back of the head with a baseball bat.

The ministry could have done anything: appointed administrators, imposed a business plan, or provided emergency funding to be repaid out of future income. But it imposed a business suspension, the most ill-considered, shortsighted of options, then sat back and admired its handiwork as the company imploded. I fear that, for ministry bureaucrats, protecting the interests of thousands of students and the jobs of thousands of teachers and staff took second place to maximizing their time on the golf course.

The irony is that the government is now faced with paying hundreds of millions of yen to teachers in unemployment benefits and replacement wages. And, judging by the recent decision to impose a suspension on manpower agency Goodwill Inc., it seems that these bureaucrats just won’t learn their lesson.

peter sidell