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What is the JET Programme?

The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme is a programme that primarily invites young college graduates from overseas to work for local governments and other organizations to enhance foreign language education and promote international exchange in local communities. The programme is administered through the collaboration of Japan’s local government authorities, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR).

Who are the JET Programme Participants?

JET Programme participants are outstanding university graduates who have been screened and selected in their home countries by overseas missions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. All participants have demonstrated a strong motivation to work in Japan and are expected to be able to function as ambassadors who form bridges between Japan and their home countries.

There are three categories of JET Programme participants, as follows.

1) ALT (approximately 90%)

ALTs are usually assigned to schools or to Boards of Education. Their role is to be involved in foreign language instruction as assistants to Japanese teachers of foreign languages, to assist in the preparation of teaching materials, and to participate in extra-curricular activities, such as English language workshops.

2) CIR (approximately 9%)

CIRs are assigned to the international relations departments of local governments. Their role is to support the international activities undertaken by those local governments (e.g. international exchange events, translation, and interpreting). In order to be able to carry out these duties, CIRs must have a high level of Japanese language ability (JLPT N2 – N1).

3) SEA (approximately 1%)

SEAs are assigned to local governments, where they work as sports instructors. As experts in specific sports, SEAs are involved in international exchange activities through the provision of instruction in sports training methods and the planning of sports related projects.

For up-to-date data about participant numbers by country, please click here.

Common Qualities among JET Programme Participants
  • They have experience working in Japanese organisations and are familiar with Japan’s unique business culture
  • They have experience speaking publicly and have strong presentation skills
  • They demonstrate outstanding flexibility and quick learning skills, cultivated by having to undertake a diverse range of duties in unfamiliar environments
  • They are strong self-starters, used to creating and completing work independently, thanks to familiarity with working in small teams
  • They possess a unique network due to their work experience in schools, local government, and other public institutions.
  • There are some participants who have work experience in a wide variety of fields

Please check out the video above to learn more about the JET Programme, as well as examples of what kinds of work JET Programme Participants partake in after their time on the Programme.

About Residence Status

It is necessary to check the residence status of any JET participant in Japan carefully, in order to avoid any risk of illegal employment. Should a JET participant plan to remain in Japan even one day longer than the original period of stay mandated by their existing residence card, he or she must apply for an extension of the valid period of their residence card.

In addition, if the participant is to engage in activities other than those permitted by their status of residence, they must apply for a change in residence status.

The residence status types of JET participants are as follows.



Please visit the following webpage for details of other types of residence status.

*Contact the centre below with any enquiries about residence status

Immigration Information Centre
Tel: 0570-013904 (dial 03-5796-7112 from IP, PHS, overseas)
Open weekdays, 8:30-17:15



What level of Japanese language skill do JET participants at the Career Fair have?
A survey of JET participants who took part in JET Programme Career Fairs indicated that around 50% of participants held level N2 or higher on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), while around 20% either held JLPT level N1 or a had a higher equivalent skill level.
What subjects did JET participants study as students?
JETs come from a wide variety of backgrounds, with many JETs studying various topics before coming to Japan. However, social sciences, humanities, languages, science, and business are popular among JETs.
What is the average age of participants upon leaving the JET Programme?
20-24 years old Approximately 30%
25-29 years old Approximately 50%
30-34 years old Approximately 15%
35-39 years old Approximately 5%
40-44 years old Approximately 1%
50 years old and above Approximately 0.5%
When do JET participants become available for employment?
Almost all JET participants complete their term of employment in late July/ early August, making them available for subsequent employment from August onwards. The dates when a JET participant can join a company and start working will vary by individual, but must be after that same individual has completed his or her appointment as a JET Programme participant.
Is it permissible to use personal data gained through Career Fairs and Internships in the recruitment process?
Yes, as long as such information is used only for recruitment and screening.
Can we be introduced to JET Programme participants or JET alumni?
JET Programme Career Fairs are intended as a platform for companies to meet with JET participants and to make selections, but it is not possible for CLAIR to mediate in recruitment or to introduce participants directly.
Can all JET participants speak English?
Most JET participants can speak English, even if they are not from English speaking countries, but there are some participants who are not comfortable working in English.
What are some comments about the Career Fair according to participating companies in the past?

Positive points

  • “The level of Japanese language skill was extremely high, and we could envision employing almost everyone we met.”
  • “Participants excelled at self expression and demonstrated a strong sense of professionalism.”
  • “Many participants had experience in education, with many wanting to work in regional areas.”
  • “Many participants had a strong understanding of Japanese culture and if employed could be expected to fit in and work well in our organisation.”
  • “Participants seemed to have done research in advance and were very well prepared. They were highly skilled and very talented.”
  • “Everyone seemed to have a strong desire to gain employment with Japanese companies.”
  • “Participants were very energetic and showed qualities not always present in Japanese people (e.g. positivity).”
  • “The Japanese language skill level was high.”

Negative points

  • “There were some people who did not have clear employment objectives.”
  • “Interviews and relationship building with people who had travelled long distances”
Copyright 2015 by the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR)