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What is JET?
What is the JET Programme?
The JET Programme is a large-scale exchange programme administered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) in Japan. Through the JET Programme, people from participating countries are invited to Japan and are appointed to work as ALTs, CIRs or SEAs by local governments in Japan for one year. The JET Programme aims to promote internationalisation in Japan’s local communities by improving foreign language education and developing international exchange at the community level.
Why is it called an exchange programme?
Firstly, each participant in the JET Programme brings their culture to a local community in Japan, helping the country to gain personal contact with peoples of other countries. Secondly, each JET participant will learn a great deal about Japan, its culture and its people. It is expected that JET participants will share what they learned with their family and friends upon returning home.
Is JET like a study abroad programme?
No. An appointment on the JET Programme is a professional commitment with specific terms and conditions as set by the local government appointing you. You will be expected to carry out duties during your appointment as a civil servant.
What distinguishes the JET Programme from other English teaching opportunities in Japan?
The JET Programme is sponsored by three Japanese Ministries (MIC, MOFA, MEXT) and JET participants are placed within local governments all throughout Japan. As a government-sponsored programme, the JET Programme is not a language school business that hopes to profit financially from English education. The goal of the JET Programme is to promote internationalisation in Japan’s local communities by helping to improve foreign language education and developing international exchange at the community level.
What kind of support is there for JET participants?
Many JET participants are placed in rural areas of Japan and may sometimes feel isolated or lonely. Click here to read about the JET Programme’s extensive support system.
>> Support
What is expected of JET participants?
JET participants are cultural ambassadors of their home countries, a role that extends beyond the nine to five workday. JET participants must constantly be aware of their behaviour and should make efforts to adapt to the Japanese culture and work environment. JET participants are expected to take an active role in the workplace and community, which may include staying late at school to help with a club or sport or volunteering with local groups and participating in community events.
When does the JET Programme year begin?
JET participants from English-speaking countries, France and Germany arrive in late July and early August (some participants may also have the opportunity to arrive in April depending on the needs of the local governments). JET participants from Brazil, China, Korea, Peru and participants from some other countries arrive in April. It is not possible to arrive at other times.
How long can I participate in the JET Programme?
Appointments on the JET Programme are for a period of one year, and acceptance into the programme is not a guarantee of more than one year of participation. If both the contracting organisation and the JET participant are in agreement, JET participants may be reappointed up to two more times, allowing a total of three years of participation on the JET Programme. JET participants whose work performance are deemed to be of an exceptionally high standard may be reappointed an additional two more times, allowing for a total of five years on the JET Programme.
Eligibility Criteria
― Criteria ―
What are the general criteria for joining the JET Programme?
Please refer to the eligibility criteria section.
>> Eligibility
― Participating Countries ―
My home country is not on the participating countries list. Can I apply to participate on the JET Programme?
Citizens of non-participating countries may only apply to participate on the JET Programme if there is a specific request from a local government in Japan for a JET participant from that country. Therefore, please contact the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan in your country of citizenship for further information.
I graduated from a Junior or Technical College. Can I apply for the JET Programme?
No, you must have a Bachelor’s Degree or three-year teacher training certification or obtain one by the date designated by your Embassy or Consulate General of Japan.
― Degree・Certification・Experience ―
I graduated from a Junior or Technical College. Can I apply for the JET Programme?
No, you must have a Bachelor’s Degree or three-year teacher training certification or obtain one by the date designated by your Embassy or Consulate General of Japan.
I graduated from a teacher’s training school. Can I apply for the JET Programme?
You can apply to participate on the JET Programme if, by the date designated by your Embassy or Consulate General of Japan, you have completed at least a three-year education/teacher training programme that qualifies you to teach at elementary, junior high, or senior high schools.
I have not graduated college or university, but I have lived in Japan and I have teaching experience. Can I apply for the JET Programme?
No, all applicants must meet the eligibility criteria, which include at least a Bachelor’s Degree or three-year teacher training certification by the time of departure for Japan.
Do I need a teaching diploma or teaching certificate to apply for the JET Programme?
A teaching certificate or diploma is not a requirement for participation on the JET Programme, but such certification will be an asset during the selection process.
Do I need TESL/TEFL certification to apply for the JET Programme?
TESL/TEFL certification is not a requirement for participation on the JET Programme but such certification will be an asset during the selection process.
Do I need a Bachelor’s Degree in English, Japanese or Education to apply for the JET Programme?
No, a Bachelor’s Degree in any field is sufficient to meet the eligibility criteria.
Do I need teaching experience to apply for the JET Programme?
No, teaching experience is not a requirement for participation on the JET Programme, but such experience will be an asset during the selection process.
― Japanese Ability ―
I do not speak Japanese. Can I apply for the JET Programme?
Yes, you can apply for the JET Programme even if you do not speak any Japanese. However, if accepted you are expected to make a continual effort to learn and improve your Japanese skills in order to better communicate with the people around you.
I want to be a CIR but I am unsure about my Japanese language ability. What is a good measure?
Applicants for the CIR position must demonstrate an excellent grasp of written and spoken Japanese. CIR applicants have typically studied Japanese for a minimum of two years at the university level. CIRs are tested in Japanese at the interview. Most CIRs have a minimum of Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level N2 certification; such certification is not a requirement but will be an asset during the selection process.
― Age Limit ―
Is there a minimum age requirement to apply for the JET Programme?
No, as long as the applicant meets all other eligibility criteria, there is no minimum age requirement. However, applicants will be judged on maturity, professionalism, and ability to adjust to other cultures.
Is there a maximum age limit?
There is no age limit to apply to participate on the JET Programme. However, you should understand that the JET Programme was conceived as a youth exchange programme. If you understand the goals of the JET Programme and have the ability to accomplish these goals, please feel free to apply.
― Commitment ―
What if I cannot fulfil a one-year period of appointment?
Participation on the JET Programme is only possible if you are able to complete the entire one-year period of appointment. If you are unable to fulfil this requirement you should immediately notify the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan and withdraw your name from consideration.
Can I join the JET Programme for just six months?
No, JET Programme participants must agree to the terms and conditions which stipulate a one-year period of appointment.
If accepted, can I defer participation for one year?
No, deferment of participation for any length of time is not permitted.
Job Types
What are the work duties of an ALT?
The work duties of an ALT will vary depending on the needs of the contracting organisation, however, most ALTs perform duties such as the following:

・Assistance in foreign language classes taught in junior and senior high schools
・Assistance in foreign language training activities, etc. in elementary schools
・Assistance in the preparation of materials for teaching a foreign language
・Assistance in the language training of teachers of a foreign language, etc.
・Assistance in extracurricular activities and club activities
・Provision of information on language and other related subjects for people such as teachers’ consultants and foreign language teachers
・Assistance in foreign language speech contests
・Engagement in local international exchange activities
・Other duties as specified by the contracting organisation

What are the work duties of a CIR?
The work duties of a CIR will vary depending on the needs of the contracting organisation as they assist in projects related to international activities carried out by the contracting organisation. Such activities may include:

・Editing, translating and compiling brochures into a foreign language; assisting in planning, designing and implementing international exchange programmes including international economic exchange programmes; assisting in hosting official guests from abroad and interpreting at events for overseas visitors or for local foreign residents in the community
・Assistance in language instruction of employees of the contracting organisation and local residents
・Assistance with and participation in activities of local private groups or organisations engaged in international exchange
・Assistance in exchange activities (including school visits) related to local residents’ cross-cultural awareness and understanding as well as in supporting activities for foreign nationals residing in Japan
・Other duties as specified by the contracting organisation

What is the difference between ALT and CIR?
The two main job types on the JET Programme are ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) and CIR (Coordinator for International Relations). From the applicant’s point of view, the main difference is that CIRs must have a high level of Japanese language ability, while ALTs need no previous Japanese language experience. In the most general form of job descriptions, an ALT’s primary work duty is language education, while a CIR’s primary work duty is helping his/her office with international events and activities. In practice, many CIRs help with international events and other internationalisation efforts while, at the same time, most ALTs spend a fair amount of time engaged in language education.
Do CIRs teach English?
Yes, CIRs often teach English (or another language). The work duties of each CIR will be adjusted to fit the needs of each contracting organisation, and while these needs will vary greatly, most will include teaching English to some degree, be it infrequent seminars or daily school visits.
I speak some Japanese but not too much. Should I try for ALT or CIR?
In terms of numbers, just over 90% of all JET participants are ALTs. Rather than basing your application on language ability it is better to think about what you would like to do. Many times, even those participants who speak very high levels of Japanese prefer to be ALTs and work in schools and boards of education as opposed to working in an office, like most CIRs do.
What is an SEA?
SEAs (Sports Exchange Advisors) are placed in local authorities engaged in sports-related activities and are involved in internationalisation activities through the instruction of specific sports.
Application Process
― General ―
How do I apply for the JET Programme?
The application and selection process for the JET Programme is handled by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its embassies and consulates in participating countries. For country-specific information, please contact or visit the homepage of the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan in your country of citizenship.
>> participating countries
Where can I obtain an application form to apply for the JET Programme?
Contact the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan in your country of citizenship. Please note that application forms are not available in Japan.
>> participating countries
When is the application deadline?
Specific deadlines for applications vary by country. Please contact the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan in your country of citizenship to find the application deadline.
Can I apply to be both a CIR and ALT and choose after I am accepted?
No, it is not possible to apply for both positions at the same time; you will have to evaluate yourself based on the eligibility criteria for each position and apply for the position that best suits you.
I like sports. How do I apply to be an SEA?
SEAs are found following a special recruitment process; therefore it is not possible to apply to be an SEA. Please apply as an ALT or CIR, and use your love of sports within the curriculum or job framework that these positions provide.
Are late applications accepted?
Late applications are not accepted. Furthermore, the applicant will be disqualified should he/she fail to meet any subsequent deadline at any stage in the application process.
― Nationality ―
I have dual nationality with Japan and one of the countries participating in the JET Programme. Can I still apply for JET?
Yes, but you must renounce your Japanese citizenship before submitting your Reply Form (if accepted to the Programme). Please contact the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan in your country of citizenship for further information.
I have dual nationality with two participating countries (eg. Canada and UK), can I apply from both?
No, you can only apply through one participating country. Please choose the country through which you would prefer to apply, keeping in mind that your interview and departure will be in that country.
I am currently not living in my country of citizenship, but the country that I live in also participates in the JET Programme (eg. US citizen living in Australia). Can I apply from here?
Yes, you can apply from the country in which you currently reside. However, you must apply through the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan in the country in which you have citizenship, provided that country is one of the countries which participate in the JET Programme. Also, you will have to return to your country of citizenship for the interview if one is granted to you.
I am not a citizen of a participating country, but I have permanent residency and speak English. Can I apply?
You cannot apply to the JET Programme through the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan in the country where you hold permanent residency. Those embassies/consulates general only accept applications from citizens of the country within which they are located. If you are a citizen of any of the participating countries, you may apply through the country in which you have citizenship. You must contact the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan in your home country to request an application.
I currently live in Japan. Can I apply for the JET Programme from here?
Yes, you can apply from Japan. However, you must apply through the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan in the country in which you have citizenship, provided that country is one of the countries which participate in the JET Programme. Also, you will have to return to your country of citizenship for the interview if one is granted to you. Interviews are not held in Japan.
My home country is on the list of participating countries, but the Japanese Embassy told me that they are not currently accepting applications to the JET Programme. How can I join the JET Programme?
For some participating countries, there will only be a recruiting process if there is a specific request from a local government in Japan to host a JET participant from that country. To find out if a local government in Japan has made a request to host a citizen of your country, please consult with the Embassy of Japan in your home country (in some cases it may be helpful to consult with the nearest Japanese consulate).
― Special Circumstances ―
How are married/engaged/companion couples treated in the selection process?
Couples are treated the same as every other JET Programme applicant: that is, each applicant is considered based on the strength of their application and their success at the interview.
I have a criminal record. How will this affect my selection?
A criminal record will not necessarily disqualify you. However, the seriousness of the crime will be taken into consideration and a final decision will be made whether or not to offer you a position on the Programme.
I am worried that a medical condition will prevent me from being accepted on the Programme. What should I do?
People with various medical conditions have been accepted on to the JET Programme in the past. Applications are judged on their individual merit. Providing that both you and your doctor believe you are fit to take part, then your medical condition should not preclude you from participating. It is important that you disclose any and all medical conditions as required in the application form, and failing to do so can result in disqualification. Disclosing medical information may also aid in placing accepted participants.
― Placement ―
I lived in Japan before. Can I go to the same place as a JET participant?
It is possible, but unlikely that you will be placed in the same area or in a nearby location. New JET Programme participants are placed after careful consideration of both their requests and the needs of the contracting organisation (host institution).
I am worried about being placed in an isolated area. What are my chances of being placed in a big city?
The goal of the JET Programme is to enhance internationalisation in local communities in Japan, and there is a relatively low demand for JET participants by urban local authorities. Few JET participants are therefore placed in large cities. The majority of JET participants are placed in small to medium sized cites or in small towns and villages.
― Applying Again ―
I applied to the JET Programme before but was not accepted. Can I apply again?
Yes, you can re-apply the following year, but you will have to re-complete and re-submit the entire application packet including getting new copies of all necessary supporting documents.
I participated on the JET Programme before. Can I apply again?
Former JET participants can re-apply but only if they have not participated in the JET Programme in the last three years.
― Scheduling / Deferment ―
If accepted, can I defer participation for one year?
No, if accepted on JET, applicants may not defer the position for any length of time.
I would like to participate in the JET Programme for just six months. Is this possible?
No, JET Programme participants must agree to the terms and conditions which stipulate a one-year term of appointment.
Can I change my departure date?
No, it is not possible for a new participant to change his/her date of departure for Japan. All new participants will arrive in Japan on a designated arrival date.
Can I change my interview location?
No,it is not possible to change your interview location.
Can I reschedule my interview?
Please contact the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan through which you applied. However, as a rule interviews will only be held during the scheduled interview period. Due to the large number of interviews conducted, individual schedules cannot be accommodated.
I have been granted an interview but will be away traveling. What will happen?
You must interview in your home country at the Embassy or Consulate General of Japan that you designated on your application form. You will be disqualified if you cannot attend the interview.

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