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CLAIR News Special Issues

CLAIR has released several special issues of CLAIR News regarding the novel Coronavirus.
Initially sent by mail, they have all been collected here:

▼ 7: Further Announcements Regarding the New Coronavirus (28 May) ▼

As of 25 May, the state of emergency declared by the Japanese national government related to the New Coronavirus has been lifted in all prefectures.

In the future the level of socio-economic activity will be raised step by step based on the premise of establishing a “New Lifestyle” to prevent the spread of infection. Thus, it is necessary to continue to observe basic safety measures against infection, such as avoiding the “three Cs”: Confined spaces (with poor ventilation), Crowded places (with many people nearby), and Close contact (with people), as well as wearing a mask.

For further details please visit the websites of the government or local governments, etc.

-Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet-

http://japan.kantei.go.jp/
https://japan.kantei.go.jp/98_abe/actions/202005/_00021.html

-NHK WORLD-

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/

▼ 6: Further Announcements Regarding the New Coronavirus (17 April) ▼

◇ With the recent spread of the new coronavirus in the world, on 3 April, the U.S. Embassy in Japan advised all U.S. citizens in Japan, and the Australian Embassy in Japan advised all English teachers living in Japan who wish to return to their home countries to make prompt arrangements for immediate return. Other embassies in Japan have issued similar recommendations.

In response, on 13 April, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (hereafter the Three Ministries) jointly asked the following of each local government:

1) To consult thoroughly with JET Programme participants who express intent to return to their home countries.

2) To continue to implement flexible working policies for JET Programme participants and to maintain communication in response to the conditions both locally and in schools, as well as providing information about measures preventing the spread of infection.

◇ In addition to this, on 15 April, CLAIR sent a notification to each contracting organisation seeking appropriate measures and laying out points to consider when dealing with JET Programme participants.

The points laid out in this notification are summarised below. With regards to JET Programme participants, taking into account the situation in the community and at the schools in the area, we are seeking flexible working conditions to be adopted. For JET Programme participants, please consult closely with your contracting organisations.

1) Regarding the possibility of allowing ALTs to work from home or take special leave (even in the event that Japanese staff members are going into work), we are requesting the following of all contracting organisations: “As outlined in the statement from MEXT sent on 25 March, we request that you be flexible in your response while considering the current situation in your local area by implementing such measures as tele-work and exemption of work duties. While Japanese staff members and ALTs are to be given equal consideration in matters in general, there is a substantial difference in the content of their work; therefore, it is not required to consider them part of the same work structure or system.”

We are requesting that CIRs and SEAs also be given these same considerations based on local conditions.

2) CLAIR and the Three Ministries have compiled a notice regarding the following points:

1 Consideration of work regulations
2 The option for JET Programme participants to recontract this summer
3 Payment of return travel costs

This has been sent to contracting organisations to help them deal with questions that JETs might have after receiving messages from their embassies, and to ask for the appropriate handling of the situation as outlined below:

1: We ask that you prioritise the safety and wellbeing of the JET Programme participants, whether they are remaining in Japan, or returning to their home countries. Please be thorough in sharing information relating to the situation in yourlocal area, as well as your school, with JET Programme participants who are concerned, to both lessen their worry and keep them informed.

2: We hope that JET Programme participants will complete their term of appointment. However, due to flights being cancelled and travel bans being implemented in their home countries, we understand that some JET Programme participants might be concerned about being able to return should they remain in Japan till the end of their term of appointment. As a result, we are looking into the possibility of allowing JET Programme participants to continue with their postings after completing their term of appointment. This option is subject to the mutual agreement between the JET participant and the contracting organisation. (We will contact the contracting organisations about the management of this in due course).

3: If a JET Programme participant wishes to return to their home country before completing their full term of appointment due to reasons caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we ask that you do the following: take into account the current global situation, and consider the role of the JET Programme as an international programme. Please consider treating the situation as if the participant has completed their term of appointment and funding their return travel costs.

We have been in regular contact with various embassies and will continue to share information accordingly.

◇ Due to the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), The AMDA International Medical Information Center has established a multilingual phone consultation line for information about the new coronavirus.

“The New Coronavirus Multilanguage Consultation Center”

https://www.facebook.com/tagengosoudan/

The latest news related to the new coronavirus in Japan is available at the following website:

NHK NEWS Web Easy (Easy Japanese)

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/?utm_int=all_header_menu_easy

◇ As mentioned in the previous special issue of CLAIR News, a state of emergency was declared by the Japanese national government on 7 April relating to the spread of the new coronavirus and affecting seven prefectures, allowing them to implement emergency measures. As of 16 April, this has been extended to all prefectures. The declaration will remain effective until 6 May.

-Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet http://japan.kantei.go.jp/

-NHK WORLD https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/k10012293221000/k10012293221000.html

Below is a list of useful websites that provide information related to the new coronavirus in multiple languages:

-Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet (Japanese, English, Chinese):
https://japan.kantei.go.jp/

-Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (Japanese, English, Chinese):
https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/0000164708_00001.html

-Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Japanese, English):
https://www.mext.go.jp/a_menu/coronavirus/index.html

-Ministry of Justice (Japanese, English):
http://www.moj.go.jp/nyuukokukanri/kouhou/nyuukokukanri10_00047.html

-Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) (Multilingual)
http://www.clair.or.jp/tabunka/portal/info/information/index.php

-NHK WORLD (easy Japanese)
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/k10012293221000/k10012293221000.html

-Tokyo Metropolitan Government(Multilingual)
https://youtu.be/PNU7eYdIwts

https://www.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/tosei/tosei/news/2019-ncov.html

【Postscript】

“The CLAIR staff would like to extend a sincere apology to the hundreds of people involved in the JET Programme who have reached out to us via e-mail and phone calls for not being able to provide a response to each one. We are genuinely concerned about the health and safety of everyone and we are doing our utmost to find solutions that work best for all the parties involved. Therefore, we kindly ask for your understanding in these unprecedented and difficult times.”

▼ 5: Further Announcements Regarding the New Coronavirus (8 April) ▼

◇ On 7 April 2020, the Japanese national government declared a state of emergency regarding the New Coronavirus.

◇ The declaration is set to last from 7 April 2020 until 6 May 2020 and applies to 7 prefectures: Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo, and Fukuoka.

◇ Although a state of emergency has been declared, this is not the same as the city-wide lockdowns seen taking place in other countries. Public transportation and other services essential to basic infrastructure will continue functioning to the extent possible. Efforts to prevent the spread of infection will continue via routes such as avoiding the “Mittsu no mitsu”, or “three Cs”: Confined spaces (with poor ventilation), Crowded places (with many people nearby), and Close contact (with people). Residents in the designated prefectures are being asked to cooperate in taking preventative measures, so please refer to their respective web pages for further information.

◇ NHK World is also providing updates and information regarding the virus:

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/k10012293221000/k10012293221000.html

(English)

▼ 4: Further Announcements Regarding the New Coronavirus (6 April) ▼

◇ In our previous newsletter, we informed you of a notice sent out from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) on 25 March 2020, urging local governments to consider the working situation of ALTs.

◇ In addition to this, on 1 April 2020, each local government was notified by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to carry out the following for all JET Programme participants (including CIRs and SEAs):

1) to give consideration to working conditions and respond to related questions so that JET Programme participants can continue their work with less worry.

2) to provide information about measures to prevent infection.

◇ CLAIR is currently requesting that contracting organisations carry out the measures that the Ministries are advising, and reminding them that it is important for contracting organisations to talk at length with their JET Programme participant(s) in response to the conditions in each region while handling the situation.

▼ 3:Further Announcements Regarding the New Coronavirus (3 April) ▼

◇ In addition to the case in Tohoku that we mentioned in our previous newsletter, there have been repeated instances where coronavirus has been suspected of being contracted at bars and restaurants. As a result, several local governments are requesting that residents refrain from going to places such as bars, restaurants, karaoke, and live music houses in the evenings and on weekends. Please do your best in preventing the spread of the virus by adhering to these requests.

◇ Regarding ALTs’ work situations, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) sent a notice to local governments on 25 March 2020. This notice went as far to encourage that local governments implement more flexible working policies in accordance with conditions in their region and schools by 1) allowing ALTs, as well as other school staff, to work from home or come in to work on a flex time system and/or 2) in the event that an ALT is not required to be present at their school, said ALT may work from home or receive special leave permission exempting them from going in to work.

◇ They advised that ALTs who feel unwell or who are showing cold-like symptoms to not go in to their workplaces and instead inform their workplaces of said symptoms from their homes. Due to some ALTs contracting the virus in Japan, certain regions’ schools have further delayed reopening for the new school year. As such, if everyone does what they can to maintain their own health and safety, this will help protect the health, safety, and learning opportunities for students as well.

▼ 2: Further Announcements Regarding the New Coronavirus (29 March) ▼

◇ On (Friday) 27 March, 2020 we received the sad news that two ALTs in Tohoku have contracted coronavirus. Due to this, schools in the city decided to postpone their opening ceremonies.

◇ The ALTs are receiving medical treatment in hospital, and we are thinking of them
and wishing for their fast recovery.

◇ Due to the constant changing of the situation across Japan, for your own safety, as
well as the safety of your co-workers and students, please keep checking for new
information sent out by the local government in your area concerning the
coronavirus. Please follow the advice of your local government, and do your best to
avoid areas meeting the following three conditions: closed spaces with poor
ventilation, gatherings of people with large numbers in attendance, and holding
conversations in close proximity. Please take the utmost precautions to prevent the
spread of the virus.

◇ Right now the safety of JET Programme participants is paramount. CLAIR has compiled up-to-date information in multiple languages about the new coronavirus in Japan. Please visit the following link for further information:

http://www.clair.or.jp/tabunka/portal/info/contents/114517.php

◇ NHK World is also providing updates and information regarding the virus.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/tags/82/ (English)

◇ Please be assured that we at CLAIR remain concerned about the welfare and
safety of JET participants and are closely monitoring these ever-changing
circumstances. We are constantly working to provide support and advice to
contracting organisations as they navigate the situation alongside the JET
participants they employ. Please take precautions with your own health, and do
your best to avoid areas meeting the following three conditions: closed spaces with
poor ventilation, gatherings of people with large numbers in attendance, and holding
conversations in close proximity. Additionally, please strive to prevent the spread of
infection by practicing proper hand washing, gargling, coughing etiquette, etc.

The Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet: https://japan.kantei.go.jp (English/Chinese)

https://japan.kantei.go.jp/ongoingtopics/coronavirus_info_e.html

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare:

https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/newpage_00032.html (English)

https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/newpage_09534.html (Chinese)

▼ 1: Regarding the New Coronavirus (27 March) ▼

◇ In order to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infection in Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Saitama Prefectural Government and Kanagawa Prefectural Government have requested that residents refrain from unnecessary and nonurgent outings this weekend. In response to Tokyo’s announcement, local governments near Tokyo are requesting that residents refrain from travelling into Tokyo. We also encourage all JET Programme participants to refrain from unnecessary and nonurgent outings to Tokyo this weekend and to take care to prevent the spread of infection in their respective areas.

◇ Right now the safety of JET Programme participants is paramount. CLAIR has compiled up-to-date information in multiple languages about the new coronavirus in Japan. Please visit the following link for further information:

http://www.clair.or.jp/tabunka/portal/info/contents/114517.php

◇ Many countries, including Japan, are turning to various strategies in order to protect their workers from potential exposure to the virus. JET participants are to be given the same treatment as that of other employees. Participants may wish to seek the option of using paid leave in order to stay at home if they feel particularly uncomfortable being at the workplace. Please consult with your contracting organisation regarding possible options available to you.

◇ Please be assured that we at CLAIR remain concerned about the welfare and safety of JET participants and are closely monitoring these ever-changing circumstances. We are constantly working to provide support and advice to contracting organisations as they navigate the situation alongside the JET participants they employ. Participants of the JET Programme must take precautions with their own health, and strive to prevent the spread of infection by practicing hand washing, gargling, coughing etiquette, etc.

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Copyright 2015 by the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR)