FAQ

Eligibility FAQs
1. I don't hold a UK passport, can I still apply to the UK JET Programme?
Unfortunately no. The JET Programme can only accept applications from full UK passport holders. The JET Programme does accept participants from many countries across the world, however in order to apply for the JET Programme you must be a national of the country that you wish to represent. Therefore, please contact the Japanese embassy or consulate in the country of your nationality. For a full list of contacts for Japanese embassies and consulates around the world please see: http://www.mofa.go.jp/about/emb_cons/over
2. I hold dual nationality with Japan / with another participating country. Can I still apply?
Those who hold dual nationality with Japan must renounce Japanese citizenship by the end of March before departure. If you hold dual nationality with any two participating countries, you can only apply through one of these countries. Candidates who apply in both countries will be automatically disqualified from the application process.
3. I don't have a degree, can I still apply?
Unfortunately, we are unable to consider applications from those who do not hold or expect to hold at least a Bachelor's degree by the summer of their departure to Japan. This requirement is imposed by the sponsors of the Programme and we regret that no exceptions can be made.
4. What type of degree do I need to be on the JET Programme?
Any type of Bachelor's degree from a recognised university is sufficient. JET participants hold degrees in a wide range of fields.
5. Are students from New Universities (Post-1992 universities) at a disadvantage?
Definitely not. The JET Programme warmly welcomes applicants from all universities and all fields of study.
6. I am currently studying for a Masters and my course won't finish until September, can I still apply?
Unfortunately not. You must be able to depart to Japan in late July / early August, at the same time as other participants.
7. I'm a mature graduate, can I still apply?
Yes. The JET Programme is essentially a youth exchange programme with young people from 40 countries* working in Japan, but there is no upper age limit. We ask, however, that potential applicants over the age of 39 contact the Programme Coordinator at the JET Desk. This is so we can discuss issues that might arise if they were to be accepted.

*participating countries vary from year to year.
8. I don't have a teaching qualification, can I still apply?
Yes. Although an interest in education and young people is an advantage when applying for the Programme, formal qualifications are not required.
9. I have a strong accent, can I still be accepted?
Of course. What is important is that you have clear pronunciation, good grammar and vocabulary and that your voice can reach the back of a classroom. The JET Programme is very keen to have participants representing as many areas of the UK as possible.
10. I am a single parent, can I still apply?
Yes. The Japanese Government will be happy to arrange visas for dependants, but financial responsibilities for flights, living costs etc. are borne by the participant. There is no problem enrolling younger children into Japanese schools - they are welcomed and will probably end up fluent in Japanese!
11. I am worried that a medical condition will prevent me from being accepted on the Programme. What should I do?
People with a wide variety of medical conditions have been accepted on to the Programme. Applications are judged on their individual merit. Provided that your doctor believes you are fit to live and work in Japan, your medical condition should not preclude you from participating. It is important that you disclose all medical conditions as required on the application form. If you declare any medical conditions, past or present, on the Self-Assessment Medical Report (except question 9), you must also have your GP fill out the Statement of Physician form stating whether you are fit to participate on the JET Programme and, as such, to live and work overseas. The Statement of Physician form will print at the same time as the application form. This information will be used to your benefit in deciding your placement as well as in serving as a quick reference should any medical emergencies arise while you are participating on the JET Programme.
12. I have applied for the JET Programme before, can I apply again?
Yes, former JET Programme applicants can reapply to the Programme provided they have not:

*Participated on the Programme in the last 3 years
*Previously participated on the Programme for 5 years or more
*Lived in Japan for more than a total of 6 out of the last 10 years
*Declined an offer of a position on the Programme without justifiable reasons (all applicants who have previously declined an offer of a position on the Programme should consult with the Programme Coordinator regarding their eligibility status)

If you have applied before and have been unsuccessful, you are welcome to re-apply but will have to complete a new application. Hopefully you will have gained more related experience in the last year: teaching experience, research of Japan, taking a TEFL course or studying Japanese. Therefore your personal statement and references will have developed. Strong, recent references will obviously strengthen your application.
13. I have lived in Japan before, can I apply?
You cannot apply if you have lived in Japan for more than six out of the past ten years. If you have further queries regarding living in Japan and eligibility, please contact the JET Desk.
14. I don't speak any Japanese, can I still apply?
Yes, for the ALT position many successful candidates apply with little or no Japanese knowledge. Although an interest in learning Japanese is an advantage when applying for the Programme, formal qualifications are not required. Please note that Japanese language ability is required if applying for the CIR position (see below).
15. What level of Japanese do I need to be a CIR (Coordinator for International Relations)?
Applicants for the CIR position must demonstrate an excellent grasp of written and spoken Japanese. CIR applicants in the past have typically studied Japanese for a minimum of two years at university level and have studied in Japan for at least six months. Interviews for CIRs are conducted in Japanese and include a comprehensive Japanese language ability test. If you are unsure whether your level of Japanese is suitable for the CIR position, please feel free to call the JET Desk on 020 7465 6668 and ask to speak to the Programme Coordinator who will be happy to evaluate your Japanese ability.
16. I have a number of tattoos / piercings. Will this affect my application?
Tattoos and body piercings are often viewed negatively in Japan. As a JET Programme participant, you would be an employee of the Japanese Government / Local Board of Education and hold a respected position in your community; therefore any obvious tattoos or piercings would most likely cause problems for your contracting organisation and may be disapproved of by your co-workers and the local population. Because of this, we suggest that applicants with tattoos and piercings think very carefully before applying. Piercings (except small earrings) would have to be removed during working hours and visible tattoos covered up using a plaster or bandage. Potential applicants with any concerns regarding these issues should call the JET Office and ask to speak to the Programme Coordinator.
Application FAQs
1. Where can I obtain an application form and notes?
The UK JET Programme application period runs only once a year between October and November. The application form and related documentation is only available on our website during this time. You are strongly recommended to apply online, however we can provide paper applications to candidates with no internet access. If you would like us to send you a paper application, please contact the JET Desk and explain your situation.
2. Why should I apply online?
The online application form contains a box next to each question giving further details of the information you are required to enter. This makes completion of the form easier and quicker. Furthermore, forms submitted online can be processed more quickly meaning that less time is needed for us to make a decision regarding your application. Please also note that every year we receive a number of paper applications which cannot be processed due to illegible handwriting.
3. I missed the application period between September and November. Can I still apply to go out next summer?
Unfortunately no, the application period runs only once a year and we cannot accept late applications. Please apply during the next application window.
4. When is the deadline for applications?
The UK JET Programme application deadline is usually 18:00 UK time on the last Friday of November for departure the following year. This deadline is strictly enforced and we regret that we are unable to accept any applications received after this time. We strongly urge all applicants to send in their applications as early as possible.
5. Why is the presentation at my university so near to the deadline?
JET Programme presentations are held from the beginning of October until close to the deadline at the end of November. We aim to cover as many sites as possible and unfortunately some presentation dates may fall just before the deadline.
6. Are the CIR and ALT salaries the same?
Yes, all JETs are paid the same annual salary of about 3.36 million yen in the first year.
3.6 million yen for the second appointment, 3.9 million yen for the third appointment. For those regarded as exceptional JET participants and appointed for a fourth and fifth year, 3.96 million are paid for each year.
7. Can I apply for both ALT and CIR positions?
No, you cannot apply for both positions in the same year. CIR applicants can request in their application to be considered for the ALT position as well as CIR, but this request is only taken into consideration after interview should the interviewers feel that the candidate is more suited to the ALT position than CIR. Please contact the JET Desk should you require further details.
8. I have done some tutoring but nothing formal. Should I include it in my application?
Yes, you should include all teaching or tutoring experience. Please be clear and exact regarding the type of experience you have.
9. What extra-curricular activities should I write about?
This is your opportunity to present yourself outside of academic and work achievements. Please give details of your extra-curricular activities and interests including how long and to what level you have been active.
10. Can I request to be placed in a senior high school or junior high school?
Unfortunately not. If you have a specific reason as to why you think you are suited to a specific age range, you are more than welcome to mention this on your personal statement. However, we cannot guarantee to meet any requests made.
11. What kind of references do you require?
We require two references (click here for further details). Your references must be specific and directly address your suitability for the JET Programme. They must be signed and sealed, with a signature across the seal.

Please do double check that your referee has a clear understanding of what you are applying for and has signed the letter as well as the seal of the envelope. Failure to follow the instructions may result in the delay or dismissal of your application. Your references should be sent together with your application.

We will NOT accept hand-written references or references written by a relative, a personal friend or friend of the family.

You are advised that referees, specifically academic referees, can take a great deal of time to prepare, sometimes 2 or even 3 months. You are STRONGLY advised to request references well in advance of the deadline. It is your responsibility to ensure that references arrive at the Embassy by the deadline date.

Please note that the JET Programme cannot provide further guidance regarding the choice of references apart from the information on this website. It is up to the applicants themselves to choose appropriate referees. Every year we receive a large number of e-mails asking for advice regarding choice of referees – this is something that we cannot provide.
12. What should I do if my referee cannot write a reference on headed paper or the correct headed paper?
In the case that company policy restricts a referee from using headed paper, this must be stated within the reference. If your referee has recently left the workplace at which they supervised you (for example your academic referee has started working at a different university), they should use the headed paper at their current workplace if this is available. This should be explained within the reference.
13. What is a certified record / academic transcript and how can I get one?
This is a list of all the courses you have taken as part of your Bachelor’s degree, and must include any which you are due to take but have not yet completed. Proof of enrolment and academic transcripts for postgraduate courses are not strictly necessary but are welcome as further supporting documentation.

On the record/transcript, the course names must be written in full with the course marks. The document must be an original, on official university stationary and signed by a person with authority to give such information.

You can obtain this document from your university registrar, school secretary and sometimes your personal tutor. We recommend you allow at least 1 month to obtain this as it may take some time for your university registrar or department secretary to prepare and authenticate the document.

Alternatively, some universities allow students to access their course results online. A print-out of these course modules and results will be acceptable, ONLY if it has been authenticated by a university official, with a signature and university stamp.
14. My partner and I want to apply for the Programme, can we be placed together?
If you are both eligible for and strongly interested in the JET Programme, you can apply together. Please bear in mind though that we cannot guarantee that you and your partner will be placed in the same area if successful, and it is very unlikely that you will be living together if you are not married. However, it is our experience that married couples are generally placed together if both are successful candidates.
15. How are the placements allocated?
Once confirmation of acceptance from successful candidates has been received, the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) considers the requests of both contracting organisations and participants. CLAIR then submits their proposals to the Special Mediator Committee consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and local governments. This committee makes the final decisions regarding participant placements.

If there is a certain area in which you would like to be placed, we urge you to undertake some research on this area and give reasons to support your request. All requests are considered, but due to the varying needs of each contracting organisation it is difficult to satisfy every participant. Please remember that the JET Programme cannot guarantee to meet any placement requests.

Please note that if you do not have any specific placement preferences, you are welcome to leave this section of the application form blank. This will in no way hinder your chances of selection for the JET Programme.
16. I'm worried about being sent to an isolated rural area. What are my chances of being placed in a big city?
All participants on the JET Programme have a support network of other JETs available as well as other structures to help them settle into life in Japan. When applying to the JET Programme, you should expect to be offered a unique experience outside of the main tourist regions in an area that may not be well-known to you initially.

Applicants can make placement requests for a specific area of Japan and/or a rural, urban or semi-urban placement on their application forms. Any placement requests made after handing in your application form will not be considered.

Big cities such as Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto are very popular and so your chances of being placed in one of these three places are minimal. One of the principal aims of the Programme is to encourage grass-roots internationalisation. Such cities are already very international, therefore they have little need for JET Programme participants. Please note that a very small number of participants are placed in the Tokyo region, and these participants are placed far from Tokyo City itself.

Moreover, there are many big and interesting cities in Japan aside from Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto and it is well worth doing a little bit of research on the country to learn some more about the many diverse and fascinating cities Japan has to offer. Also, please consider that the cost of living in big cities will be higher.

Another issue you may like to consider is climate. Northern Honshu and Hokkaido tend to have long winters and these areas are great for skiing and other winter sports. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that central heating in Japan is not common. Southern Japan enjoys a much milder climate though the heat and humidity of summer span several months.

Please note that if you do not have any specific placement preferences, you are welcome to leave this section of the application form blank. This will in no way hinder your chances of selection for the JET Programme.
17. I saw the doctor regarding emotional issues. It wasn't anything serious and I am now fully recovered. Do I have to mention it?
Yes. You MUST declare any and all consultations with a medical practitioner regarding emotional or mental concerns at any time in your life irrespective of their severity. You must provide a detailed account of the number of consultations, the names of medication taken, if any, and the duration of the treatment.

By submitting your signed application form, you are declaring that all the information you have given is correct and that no information has been withheld. Please be aware that all successful applicants are required to submit a Certificate of Health Form completed and signed by their GP in the April before departure. If any discrepancies arise between this form and your Self-Assessment Medical Form, your position on the JET Programme will be jeopardised and may well be terminated.

Regarding physical health, you must declare any illnesses or injuries you have had within the last 5 years, except for minor colds and flu.

It is important to note that past physical or mental illness will not disqualify you from the JET Programme, but false information or withholding of information will do.
18. Why do you require my personal medical information?
Participation on the JET Programme involves moving abroad to a foreign country to live and work. As sponsors of the JET Programme, the Japanese Government must be confident of your fitness to live and work in Japan. Therefore you must declare all health issues as requested in your application. Furthermore, it is essential that you provide correct medical information in case of any emergency situations that may arise after you have departed for Japan. All information is regarded as strictly confidential.

If you are in any doubt regarding the declaration of medical issues, we strongly recommend that you call the JET Desk to discuss your individual case before completing your application form.
19. How will I know if the JET Desk has received my application?
We recommend that all applicants enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard with their application.

The JET Desk will return the postcard to acknowledge receipt of your application. Please note that postcards are returned as soon as possible but there may be a delay during our busiest period in November and December. It may not be possible for the JET Desk to confirm that we have received your application form until sometime after the deadline date has passed.
20. I will be unable to attend an interview in the last week of January. Should I mention this with my application?
Yes, please enclose a covering letter with your application detailing dates of unavailability during January and February as well as a brief explanation. This information will be considered when allocating interview slots. However, the interview schedule is very tight and it may not be possible to meet such requests. It is your responsibility to keep the JET Desk updated regarding unavailability during the interview period, for example when university examination dates are released. Applicants who do not inform the JET Desk of unavailability during January and February and who subsequently request a change of interview date once an interview invitation has been issued are unlikely to be offered an alternative interview slot.
21. What kind of person does well on JET?
There is no one particular "type" of person that does well on JET; however flexibility and positivity are key attributes that we are looking for. The Programme requires applicants to take responsibility and to thrive in occasionally challenging situations. There are many situations in which JETs must be able to take initiative and be proactive in their work, and creativity is also important when creating lesson plans and teaching classes. JETs should also be culturally sensitive and accept that things in Japan work differently to things at home.

Finally, a good candidate for the JET Programme should have a genuine interest in international exchange and in Japan itself.
22. How can you use JET to further your career?
The skills and experience you gain from living and working in Japan are invaluable. JET is very highly regarded by employers and the JET support network continues once you return, with the JET Alumni Association website advertising vacancies from employers specifically looking to recruit ex-JETs, as well as a Careers Information Day. The skills you gain are very versatile meaning that ex-JETs find employment in a number of fields from teaching to the Civil Service, from the Police Force to television and journalism.
23. Why do JETs depart in July/August mid-way through the Japanese academic year?
The Japanese school year begins in April. JET Programme participants depart for Japan in early August as this matches the end of the academic year for the majority of participating countries. In addition, the time between spring and summer gives Japanese students and staff a chance to settle in to the new academic year, making it easier for an incoming ALT to integrate into school life.
24. Can you apply for both JET and MEXT?
You can apply for both; however please bear in mind that JET and MEXT are quite different from one another. Applicants are advised to gain a precise understanding of the criteria of each programme and consider their options carefully.
25. How competitive is the JET Programme?
The number of applications and places on the JET Programme varies widely from year to year. JET is competitive but with preparation and a strong application, you stand a good chance of success.
26. What can I do before October to prepare for applying?
Please read through our website carefully to confirm your eligibility and to familiarise yourself with the application process. We recommend that applicants contact their referees and start preparing their supporting documents from September as it may take some time to obtain them.
Interview FAQ
1. When will I hear if I have been successful or not?
Applicants will start to receive notification of their application results from mid-December. Unsuccessful applicants are welcome to re-apply in the following year. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants. Interviewed applicants will start to receive notification of their interview results in early April. There are 3 possible outcomes: successful ('final short-list'), unsuccessful, or alternate (reserve) status.
2. How will I be notified of my interview?
Selected applicants will receive notification of their interview time and date via email. Email invitations will be sent to the email address provided on your application form and applicants are advised to check their inbox and junk folder regularly. Please be sure to inform the UK JET Office of any dates that you will be unavailable for interview during January and February.
3. What are the JET interviews like?
The interview is usually conducted by a Japanese national (usually an Embassy official) and a former JET Programme participant. All interviewers have been briefed and are given strict guidelines. Consequently, they strive to be as fair as possible in their evaluation of candidates so that no JET candidate is at a disadvantage. Interviews last for approximately 15-20 minutes and you will be asked to take a written test prior to your interview. Before your interview, you will also have the opportunity to have any questions answered by former JET Programme participants.
4. Can I have my interview at another site? What about a telephone interview?
All JET Programme interviews for UK participants are conducted in person within the UK. Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) interviews are at the Embassy of Japan in London or at the Consulate of Japan in Edinburgh. Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) interviews are only conducted at the Embassy of Japan in London. Please also note that interviews cannot be held remotely (e.g. telephone, Skype) or at any location other than those already specified.
5. How many people from the UK participate each year?
The number of UK participants varies widely from year to year depending on the number of contracting organisations seeking JETs and the number of JETs renewing their contracts for another year. On average, the UK JET Programme sends over 100 ALTs and up to 10 CIRs to Japan each year.
6. I have been selected as an 'alternate candidate'. What does this mean?
If you have been short-listed as an 'alternate candidate', this means that you have been offered a place on the reserve candidate list.
7. What are my chances of getting a place on the Programme as an 'alternate candidate'?
Alternate candidates may be notified that a position has become available for them on the shortlist at any time until December of the departure year. However, past experience suggests that this is less likely to occur after June of the departure year. Unfortunately, we are unable to comment on the likelihood of any alternate candidate being promoted to the shortlist. However, you are welcome to contact the UK JET Office and ask to speak to the Programme Coordinator, should you wish to discuss your status as an alternate candidate. It is the candidate’s responsibility to keep the UK JET Office informed of any changes in their personal circumstances or contact details. Please note that placements for promoted candidates may become available at short notice.
8. How will 'alternate candidates' be informed if they have a place?
Alternates offered a place on the JET Programme are informed by telephone; this is why it is so important that you provide the JET Desk with any changes to your contact details. Placements often become available at short notice, and your place will be offered to someone else if we cannot contact you with a placement offer.
Pre-Departure FAQs
1. I'm having problems obtaining my medical certificate. What should I do?
If you have been short-listed or selected as an alternate (reserve) candidate for a position on the JET Programme and are sent a Certificate of Health to complete, please take it to your doctor immediately. It is the participant's responsibility to make sure that the completed certificate arrives at the JET Desk before the deadline, therefore please allow plenty of time for your doctor to complete the certificate in case complications arise. JET Programme participants are responsible for any costs incurred in obtaining the Certificate of Health.

If you have any problems in completing your Certificate of Health, please inform the JET Desk as soon as possible. It is your responsibility to inform the JET Desk regarding any change of circumstances and to keep updating your information with us.
2. Can I make my own way to Japan in July/August?
Unfortunately not. Participants must fly to Japan on the group flight arranged and sponsored by the Embassy of Japan. You will be informed of the exact flight date and time after the Pre-Departure Orientation in early July.
3. Can I take my partner who is not applying for the Programme?
It is best to act with discretion. Whilst officially this is not a problem, you should be aware that this issue can be problematic as your contracting organisation may not be expecting anyone to accompany you. In an effort to maintain good working relations with your colleagues, think carefully about how you should handle the situation.

It would be best to have your partner join you at a later date once you have settled in. There are likely to be many welcome parties for you when you first arrive. As the focus will be on you as the new member of staff, your partner may feel left out.

Once you have established good relations with your school and Board of Education or Town Office, it may be best to forewarn them that your partner will join you at a later date. This will give you more time to read the situation and decide on the most appropriate action.

Please note that only legally married couples are eligible for a Dependent Visa. Your spouse may only take up part time employment on this visa. Engaged couples are not eligible for a Dependent Visa. Your partner must find employment with visa sponsorship independently in order to stay with you in Japan for the long term. Without a visa they will not be able to work in Japan and can only stay on a tourist visa for a maximum of 90 days.
4. Is TEFL training provided before departure?
ALTs will receive training in team-teaching during orientation which will be specific to the role of the ALT in Japanese schools.
5. Can I miss the Pre-Departure Orientation at the beginning of July?
No, all selected JET Programme participants are obligated to attend the Pre-Departure Orientation. You must bring a valid passport to the orientation.
6. Can I travel abroad between the Pre-Departure Orientation and departure to Japan?
Unfortunately not. We will be collecting all passports at the Pre-Departure Orientation in order to issue working visas for the JET Programme. The visa takes about 2 weeks to issue, therefore we shall return your passport to you on your day of departure at the airport.
7. Do I need special vaccinations before leaving for Japan?
No, unless you have a specific medical condition and know that you need a certain vaccination. You may want to consider being vaccinated against diseases prevalent in any countries you are planning to visit during your time on JET. Seek professional medical advice for country-specific information.
In Japan FAQs
1. How much help are you given when you arrive? Is it easy to make friends?
Support for JETs on arrival is comprehensive. You will have a supervisor who will help you with accommodation, utilities and banking. There will also be a network of JETs in your area who can provide support when needed. JETs generally find it easy to make friends in Japan, with other JETs as well as with local people, but please remember that it is important to be proactive in meeting people and in joining different activities in your area. Many Japanese people are not fluent in English so participants are recommended to learn as much Japanese as possible to help them integrate into the community.
2. I am a student with a large overdraft. How will I fund my time in Japan?
All JETs are paid a monthly salary. This is an ample amount, allowing you to live comfortably and enjoy life and travel in Japan.

However, you will not receive your first pay cheque for up to six weeks after you arrive in Japan so we recommend that you bring at least 200,000 yen. Some participants may be required to pay a deposit for accommodation upon arriving. You will also need money to live on and to purchase your daily essentials until your first pay cheque. Please try to secure these funds before departure in order to ensure that you have enough money for your first few weeks in Japan.
3. I've heard the cost of living in Japan is high. Will the JET salary be enough to live on?
Yes, the JET salary is more than adequate to cover living costs in Japan. Average costs at present are very similar to those for living in the UK, with city prices slightly higher than in rural areas. The annual JET salary is 3.36 million yen in the first year.
4. Do I have to pay tax in the UK if I work on the JET Programme for only one year?
Please see the Embassy of Japan in the UK website for information or contact your local Inland Revenue Office.
5. How will I arrange accommodation?
Your contracting organisation will arrange accommodation for you in almost all cases. On arrival at your workplace, you will be met by your supervisor who has probably arranged accommodation for you or by an experienced JET Programme participant. Alternatively, your supervisor will help you in looking for accommodation and buying furniture. In the meantime, a home-stay or hotel will be arranged for you as temporary accommodation.

All JET participants live in individual apartments or houses whilst in Japan.
6. Can I drive? How do I get a driving licence?
You should contact your contracting organisation to let them know whether or not you hold a driving licence and intend to drive in Japan. To drive in Japan you will need to obtain an International Driving Permit which is available from the AA, the RAC and certain branches of the Post Office.

This MUST be used in conjunction with a valid UK driving licence and is valid for a year. Once in Japan, should you choose to renew your contract and wish to continue driving, you must apply for a Japanese driving licence. Information will be available upon arrival.

NOTE: To apply for the International Driving permit you must send a photocopy of appropriate passport pages for postal applications. You must do this in advance of the Pre-Departure Orientation when passports will be collected and held until departure.
7. I don't have a driving licence. What if my placement requires me to have a car?
You are asked this question on the application form. Your answer will be taken into consideration to some extent when placing you in Japan. If you request a rural area, it is more likely you will need a driving licence; however this shouldn't discourage applicants who do not drive. The vast majority of JETs do not require a car for travel to work.
8. How do JETs learn Japanese? How long does it take?
Language materials are provided and classes held during the Orientation. Once in Japan, JETs are encouraged to take up Japanese study in a way that is suited to their preferred method of learning. The time required to become proficient depends very much on individual motivation and aptitude, but remember that you will gain a lot more from living in Japan if you make an effort to study the language. The more you practise your Japanese, the more you will learn. Most JETs return with a sufficient command of Japanese for everyday life in Japan.
9. How do you get involved in your local community?
There are many ways to get involved in your local community whilst in Japan. In addition to extra-curricular activities in school, we encourage participants to actively seek out cultural activities in the local area. Popular activities among JETs include Taiko Drumming, Ikebana and martial arts such as Judo and Kendo. Town festivals are a great way to get involved in the local community. Please remember that you must be proactive in seeking out ways to become involved in your community - these events will not always come to you!
10. How many hours will I teach?
Most ALTs teach 3-4 periods a day, with each period lasting around 50 minutes. However, you will typically be expected to be at school from 8am - 4pm and be present at assemblies and staff meetings. In your free periods you can work on lesson planning, updating English materials, English boards and extra-curricular activities. You will have time to study Japanese, get to know other subject teachers in the staff room, attend different classes and help out with school festivals. ALTs are also expected to help with an after-school club, an experience that will bring you closer to your students and the school community as a whole.
11. What age ranges will I be teaching as an ALT?
ALTs usually teach in Senior High or a combination of Junior High and Elementary schools. Some ALTs may also find themselves visiting Kindergarten schools.
Elementary School students are 6 - 12 years old.
Junior High School students are 12 - 15 years old.
Senior High School students are 15 - 18 years old.
12. What will I teach in the lessons?
This very much varies depending on the class you are teaching. During orientation you will be provided with a number of different team-teaching ideas. It is the ALT's role to work with the Japanese Teacher of English and construct an appropriate lesson plan.
13. To what extent would I be responsible for discipline?
The role of an ALT is that of an assistant teacher. The Japanese teacher of English will maintain discipline. You may find yourself helping out by keeping the class focused and quiet. If you find yourself in a situation you feel uncomfortable with, depending on the openness of your teacher, you may wish to address this issue outside of the classroom privately.
14. How will Japanese students react to ALTs from ethnic minority groups?
The JET Programme encourages applications from all ethnic minority groups. Japan does in general have a homogenous population, however, the JET Programme aims to promote cultural exchange and increase understanding of Britain as a multi-cultural country consisting of people from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds. Japanese students will be especially interested in you and this will increase their awareness and understanding of different countries.
15. What holiday am I entitled to?
Annual leave ranges from 10-20 days per year, depending on your school. This is a luxury as many Japanese teachers have less or at least take less holiday. You are entitled to use all your holiday allowance - many participants travel around Japan or abroad or take holidays when friends and family come to visit. In addition to annual leave, Japan has 16 national holidays per year (as of 2016).

Please note that Japanese schools do not close during the school holidays as many students take extra classes and attend club activities. You are expected to attend work during the holidays, but this is the best time to use annual leave.

You must always consult with your supervisor before taking holiday at any time of the year. Always provide your school with your contact details while you are away, especially when travelling abroad.
16. Is it easy to travel in Japan?
Yes, Japan has some of the best public transport in the world and travel is safe and convenient.
17. I hear that JETs can stay for up to 5 years on the Programme. How many participants renew their contracts?
As long as your contracting organisation is happy with your performance over the last year, you have the option of renewing your contract up to four times, allowing you to work on the JET Programme for a maximum of 5 years. About 70% of UK participants renew for a second year, fewer participants stay on for a third year or longer.
18. What if I don't like my location or fancy a change? Can I move in my 2nd or 3rd year?
It is unlikely that you would be given the opportunity to move to a different placement during your time on JET. Relocation is sometimes possible in exceptional circumstances, however these do not include dissatisfaction with your job or surroundings. There is a slight possibility that you may be able to relocate to a different city in your prefecture should you wish to do so at some point during your time on the JET Programme, however this is very uncommon. Although every situation is different, JET participants should assume that their working conditions will remain the same if re-contracting for another year.
19. I'd like to be an ALT first and then become a CIR. Is this possible?
It depends on the policy of the prefecture. If a position becomes available in your area, there may be an interview procedure, however this is not very common. In order to avoid disappointment, you should depart for Japan with the mindset that you will be an ALT for the duration of your contract. You could then explore the possibility of becoming a CIR sometime during your stay in Japan.
20. What if I cannot fulfil my one year contract?
On rare occasions, a JET Programme participant returns to their home country before the end of their contract. This is normally due to bereavement, family issues etc. In these cases, the contracting organisation will provide assistance in returning home.

Obviously no one is going to force you to stay in Japan if you are unhappy. You would probably be unable to perform well in your job or fulfil your responsibilities if you are in a negative frame of mind. However, in cases such as these you would be expected to pay your airfare back to the UK should you choose to break your contract. Please think hard before you decide to leave your job before the end of your contract, as this would either deprive your students of an ALT or force co-workers or other JETs to take on your responsibilities as well as their own.

Please be aware that after accepting a position, if you withdraw from the JET Programme once your placement notification has been received, you may find yourself liable for your airfare to Japan.
21. What is Japan/JET like for LGBT applicants?
Sexual orientation is not taken into consideration during the application or selection process. There have been many gay/lesbian/bisexual JETs on the programme over the years. In Japan the issue of sexual orientation is, as in the UK, a private matter. How an LGBT JET would choose to approach his/her colleagues and community will vary depending on the personality and circumstances of that individual. One positive aspect of coming to Japan is that violence against those of alternative orientations is practically non-existent, therefore fear of personal safety need not be a concern however, please bear in mind that same-sex marriages performed in the UK are not legally recognised in Japan and are not subject to the same regulation regarding visa issue as heterosexual married couples.
22. I am religious and need to observe certain holidays. What allowances will be made for me?
Please consult with your contracting organisations carefully in advance. It is up to them to decide if absences for religious reasons are allowed or not. Schools may refuse your request if a religious holiday is on a working day or if work has been scheduled for that day.