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The JET Programme

About the JET Programme

The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme is operated by local authorities in cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, along with the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR).

The program was started in 1987 with the purpose of increasing mutual understanding between the people of Japan and the people of other nations. It aims to promote internationalization in Japan’s local communities by helping to improve foreign language education and developing international exchange at the community level. The program has seen significant growth from its original 848 participants from 4 countries in 1987 to 5,761 participants from 57 countries in 2019.

Participants are assigned to be either Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs), who work in communities on international exchange activities, Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs), who provide language instruction in elementary, junior, and senior high school classrooms, or Sports Exchange Advisors (SEAs), who promote international exchange through sports. Participants are placed with local authorities throughout Japan in every imaginable locality, from large cities to small and medium-sized towns to rural farming and fishing villages.

The JET Program, one of the world’s largest international exchange programs, has an excellent reputation in Japan as well as abroad. The program is expected to greatly contribute to the building of a global society, as the people involved form an international network of relationships.

Positions and Duties


Two positions are offered. One may apply for either of the two but not both.

CIR (Coordinator for International Relations): Those engaged in international activities. These participants are placed in offices of local governments or related organisations such as international associations, universities, convention bureaus and so on.

ALT (Assistant Language Teacher): Those engaged in language instruction. These participants are placed mainly in local boards of education or publicly run junior and senior high schools. There may be a very limited number of cases in which the participants are placed in private junior and senior high schools through the prefectural offices or designated city offices.


CIR: The duties of the CIR are carried out under the guidance of the division management in local government offices in prefectures, cities, towns and villages.

The following is a brief outline of CIR duties. However, they may vary greatly in emphasis and content from one Contracting Organisation to another. They may include all or just one of the following duties:

  • Assistance with projects related to international activities carried out by local governments. Such activities may include: translating, editing and proof-reading pamphlets in a foreign language; assisting with planning, designing and implementing international exchange programmes; assisting with official guests from abroad and interpreting at events for overseas visitors or for local foreign community residents.
  • Assistance with language instruction of government employees and local residents (*1).
  • Assistance with planning and participation in activities of local private groups or organisations engaging in international exchange.
  • Assistance with or creation of exchange activities related to local residents’ cross-cultural awareness and understanding.
  • Other duties as specified by the Contracting Organisation.

*1 Language instruction of local residents refers to foreign language lessons and foreign culture classes for children and/or adults

ALT: Participants who are assigned to local boards of education or schools are to carry out their duties as Assistant Language Teachers under the guidance of Language Teachers’ Consultants, Japanese teachers of the foreign language, etc.

The following is a brief outline of duties, though they may vary from one Contracting Organisation to another.

  • Assistance with classes taught by Japanese foreign language teachers in junior and senior high schools.
  • Assist with foreign language education at primary/elementary schools.
  • Assistance with the preparation of supplementary teaching materials.
  • Assistance with language training for Japanese teachers of the foreign language etc.
  • Assistance with the instruction of foreign language clubs (*2).
  • Provision of information on language and other related subjects for people such as Teachers’ Consultants and Japanese teachers of the foreign language (e.g. word usage, pronunciation, etc.)
  • Assistance with foreign language speech contests.
  • Engagement in local international exchange activities.
  • Other duties as specified by the Contracting Organisation.

*2 Students with common interests and motivations form a club at school focusing on conversation in a foreign language.

Sports Exchange Advisors (SEAs)

In the 1994-1995 JET Programme year, a new initiative was introduced into the CIR part of the programme. The Sports Exchange Advisor (SEA) position was created to promote international exchange through assistance in sports training and the planning of sports related projects. As of August 2, 2019, 2 SEAs are participating on the programme in sports.

For further information, go to CLAIR Tokyo

Participant Recruitment and Selection

Recruitment and selection of participants is conducted by Japanese embassies and consulates overseas. Individuals interested in becoming JET Programme participants should contact the Japanese Embassy in their country of citizenship.

In addition to conducting regular recruitment activities via such channels as posters, pamphlets and the Internet, overseas embassies and consulates hold information sessions at venues such as colleges, universities and career centers during the active recruitment period (according to the participating country and arrival period in Japan).

Participant Selection Process
  • Applications are reviewed by the Embassy of Japan.
  • Applicants who pass the application review stage are interviewed at the nearest embassy or consulate.
  • Final interview results are announced (notification is sent to those applicants who are selected as either a participant or an alternate).
  • Once participation on the Programme has been confirmed by the participant and placement has been decided, final acceptance and placement notification results are sent by the Contracting Organisation.
  • Q&A sessions and preliminary training sessions are held for selected participants by embassies and consulates.
  • Pre-departure orientations are held by embassies or consulates.