For those who read what I write and don't know what "Nova" is, it's a big chain of "fast food" English language schools. They are cheap, offer a set course of content (mainly based on a single series of textbooks but with some variation) and have a lot of branches. They are famous, perhaps unfairly, for being one of the worst places in Japan to work at.
The truth is that they are probably no longer the worst place to work at but the working conditions at the schools are generally quite hard compared to some other places. That is, teachers put in a relatively long, intense day. There is also an elaborate series of financial penalties for small infractions such as being late, calling in sick, or taking days off without sufficient notice. In the past, Nova was accused of cheating people out of salary they were due and denying them legal minimum vacation time but that seems to have stopped due to the creation of a Nova teacher's union.
I worked at Nova for 2 years when I first arrived in Japan and found that conditions varied from branch to branch. Smaller, less busy branches were not so bad to work at and bigger ones were madhouses where teachers were treated like a necessary evil as staff struggled to handle the overwhelming task of managing a stampede of students and fatigued teachers. The Japanese staff who worked at each branch were a big component in how bad or how good the job could be. If you were lucky, you were with a relaxed manager who cut you slack so you could enjoy down-time when you had it. If you were unlucky and worked for a hard ass, you'd be tossed into a conversation lounge during any free moment even if you weren't needed there.
Through the years, a lot of Nova refugees came to work during my former company's busy season (from October to March each year, we would hire 1-5 extra foreign staff members) so I got updates from people who worked there as the years went by. In fact, I was eventually replaced by a Nova teacher so my information is subjective but current.
Anyway, as of late, there has been a lot of news about 7 Nova teachers who have been accused of having a small amount of marijuana and cocaine. The quantity found would lead one to believe this was a group of people prepping for a party rather than a bunch of drug dealers. The amount doesn't matter much to the Japanese though because they are much stricter about drugs than some other countries. This is something that most people ought to know given that Paul McCartney rather famously got booted from Japan in 1980 for carrying a small amount of pot into the country.
I asked one of my students last night about how this news comes across to her and she told me a few things I hadn't learned from reading various news sources. For one thing, she said that Nova had denied (at least to a news sources she accessed) that it had any relationship with the arrested people. That is, it implied that they don't work for Nova. Since there was another incident in the past in which teachers were arrested, I think Nova is probably concerned that this is going to be bad public relations for them. They likely don't want to be seen as a school which employs a bunch of druggies.
I also asked my student about her impressions after the news and two points in particular were of interest to me. First of all, I wanted to know if she thought less of Nova as a language school after this and she said that she did not but felt they were careless about the type of people they hired. Second, I wanted to know if she felt this indicated that all foreigners were more likely to do drugs. She said her impression of foreigners wasn't changed by this at all and said without any prodding on my part that Japanese people use drugs as well.
Part of the reason I asked the latter question is that a common reaction among the foreign community in Japan (as seen by comments about this story on news sites and blogs) is that this news makes life harder for all foreigners in Japan as it will encourage the Japanese who stereotype us as criminals or drug users to maintain their prejudicial views. I think those who want to believe all foreigners are X, Y, or Z are going to do so regardless of how many people actually commit a crime or how many people are upstanding citizens who work hard and obey the laws.