Is the Japan English teaching market $700 million in size, or $7 billion?

I am surprised no one has ever stepped up to resolve this one.

With the GEOS bankruptcy in the news, all the facts and figures are coming out again. What has my head spinning are two different factoids coming out of Japan Times reporting. In one article, the reporter says:

According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the monthly number of students enrolled at foreign-language conversation schools plunged from 826,858 in February 2006 to 335,604 this year. The corresponding monthly sales figures for the industry over the same period fell from ¥17.2 billion to ¥5.7 billion.

In real (I mean U.S. dollar) figures, and annualized, this means a drop from about $2 billion to $700 million.

Yet today, another piece about GEOS has this statistic:

The language industry has been in decline for the past several years due to Japan’s economic malaise, the global financial crisis and the fallout from Nova’s bankruptcy.

According to Tokyo-based Yano Research Institute Ltd., sales in the industry fell from ¥826 billion in fiscal 2005 to ¥767 billion in fiscal 2008.

So, in more workable numbers, this is $8.26 billion in ’05 down to $7.67 billion in 2008, and using 100 yen to the dollar. That’s Yano.

So in one article, the industry is $700 million, and in another one, it’s ten times the size.

Which is it?

I am taking “foreign language industry” to mean the same as English instruction. Although obviously, that isn’t true.
But where’s the other nine-times-the-size of Eikaiwa industry out there? The missing planet Jupiter for which the Eikaiwa we all know about would be just one of the moons?

Adamu (Adam Richards) over at Mutant Frog helped me out a bit by linking the source for the METI figures, which I’ll talk about later. (He does another one of those quickie analyses like this one from last year, which I’ll also talk about.) But I don’t think any of the gang who blog over there, even the Dubai-based lawyer I might have had lunch with in Yoyogi last year(!), have picked up on this 10-times difference thing.

[more later]