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Japan Exchange and Teaching Program

General Information

The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) seeks to help enhance internationalization in Japan by promoting mutual understanding between Japan and other nations. The program aims to enhance foreign language education in Japan, and to promote international exchange at the local level by fostering ties between Japanese youth and foreign youth.


The objectives of the program are being achieved by offering JET Program participants the opportunity to serve in local authorities as well as public and private junior and senior high schools.

The program is conducted by local authorities and other organizations of Japan in cooperation with 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.

The JET Program began in 1987 with the cooperation of the governments of the participating countries. The year 2006 marked the 20th anniversary of the program. As of 2006, there were 5508 participants in the program from 44 countries.

As the JET Program has achieved an excellent reputation over the last 20 years, it is of great importance that this high level of respectability be maintained. Participants are invited to Japan as representatives of their countries. Therefore, they are expected to be responsible in all of their activities, especially those concerning the promotion of mutual understanding between nations. It is desirable that participants are adaptable and have a positive interest in Japan.

**The application period runs from October through late November each year.  Early submission of applications is highly encouraged.

For more information, please go to the
Official JET Program Website


Frequently Asked Questions

Interviews and Notification
  • What are your requirements?

To be eligible for the JET Program, applicants should, in principle, be under the age of 40 by date of hire, have a Bachelor's degree before leaving for Japan, be a citizen of the United States by the application deadline, have native or near native English speaking proficiency, have a genuine interest in Japan and the Japanese language, and be eager about sharing American culture. Teaching experience is not required, but it is an advantage for ALT applicants.

In addition to the above requirements, CIR applicants also need to have advanced Japanese proficiency and an interest in international and intercultural communications.

SEA applicants need to have the same requirements as stated above as well as excel in a particular sport (such as basketball or volleyball). They must also be recommended by the U.S. National Olympics committee and either a U.S. government agency or an equivalent organization. SEAs also need at least 3 years' coaching experience and the ability to easily communicate in either English or Japanese.

  • I'm a U.S. resident, but not a citizen. Can I still apply through the U.S.?  icon_top.jpg

No, to be considered eligible in the United States, you must have U.S. citizenship by the application date. Please go to the main JET Programme website to see whether or not your country of citizenship participates with JET.top

  • Is a junior or associate's degree sufficient to be eligible?

No, to be considered eligible for the JET Program in the United States, you must have at least a Bachelor's degree from an accredited university before July 1 of the departure year.top

  • Can I apply if I graduated from a teacher's training school?

Yes, you are eligible to apply for JET if you have completed at least a 3-year education/ teacher training program for elementary, middle or high schools in the U.S. by July 1 of the departure year.top

  • Can I apply before I graduate?

Yes, if you will be graduating from an accredited university with a Bachelor's degree by July 1 of the departure year, you can still apply for the JET Program. With your application, you must also provide an official statement from your university's registrar stating that you are: 1) a currently enrolled student, 2) that you are expected to graduate within the required time frame (by July 1 of the departure year), and 3) the exact date (month and year) your degree is expected to be conferred.

If you are unable to receive this proof of enrollment and proof of date of graduation from your registrar, we will also accept a letter from a dean or an advisor (from the university where you are enrolled at) on official university letterhead with an official signature stating the same above information. Without this statement, your application may be considered incomplete. top


  • Can I apply if I have dual citizenship?

Yes, you can still apply. However, if you have dual citizenship between the U.S. and Japan, then you must renounce your Japanese citizenship before departing for Japan if accepted.If your citizenship is between the United States and a country other than Japan then you may apply for the JET Program in either country (choose only 1; do not apply through both simultaneously).top

  • What kind of applicant are you looking for?

JET looks for enthusiastic young people with an interest in Japan and a desire to teach about their languages and cultures. JET annually hires applicants from a multitude of ethnic, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds with varied interests and skills. There is no single "type" of JET the program looks for. However, while any undergraduate major is acceptable, a background (or at least a genuine interest) in Japanese history, culture, and language is beneficial and strongly recommended. Teaching experience and/or certification is also highly advantageous for ALT candidates. Enthusiasm, dedication, and a heartfelt interest in the program are all desired attributes and can reflect very positively upon a candidate. We encourage applicants to be honest and earnest in both their applications and their interviews. However, given the program's popularity, not all qualified candidates can be chosen.

ALT: ALT applicants should be motivated to teach English, work with children, and participate in international exchange activities. They should be flexible and adaptable to new cultures. They should also have a knowledgeable understanding of their own countries and cultures and be willing to share this knowledge with people of other cultures. Finally, applicants should be open-minded and interested in learning about Japanese language and culture. See here for more information about this position.

CIR: CIR applicants should be motivated to participate in international exchange activities and have a strong command of the Japanese language at an advanced level in the areas of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. As CIR duties often include translating and interpretation, CIR candidates must also demonstrate a good command of English. In addition, they should be flexible and adaptable to new cultures, as well as have a knowledgeable understanding of their own countries and culures and be willing to share this knowledge with people of other cultures. Finally, applicants should be open-minded and interested in learning more about Japanese language and culture. See here for more information about this position.

SEA applicants must excel in a certain sports field (such as basketball or volleyball) and must be recommended by either the U.S. National Olympic Committee or by a U.S. government organization. Alternatively, the applicant should have equivalent abilities and recommendations. Furthermore, it is necessary to have a recognized and prestigious coaching certification/qualification from a vocational college or to have at least 3 years of coaching experience in your specialized field. SEA applicants should also be motivated to participate in and intitiate international exchange activities in the local community, and have a functional command of English or Japanese. See here for more information about this position. Please note that the United States only rarely sends SEAs to Japan. Please check the JET Program USA webpage in January to see if there are any advertised positions.


  • Will I still be considered if I have a criminal record?

Applications with criminal records will be carefully reviewed, and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis. There is a section on the application where those who have ever been arrested, charged and/or convicted of any crime other than a minor traffic offense (such as for speeding or a parking ticket) can explain the circumstances and provide copies of their criminal records (provided by the court or law enforcement agency). These records must detail the date, location, nature and resulting action/penalty of the crime(s). Those who have been informed that juvenile offenses will be stricken from their records are encouraged to review their records to see that this is truly the case before filling out a JET application. Applicants are allowed to submit criminal records separately after the application deadline, but they must arrive at the Washington, DC JET Program office by January 31 of the departure year. Failure to do so will result in disqualification.

Prior to departing for Japan, we require all accepted applicants submit an FBI Identification Record. If something appears on this record that an applicant did not disclose, then this may be grounds for disqualification.top

  • Will everyone eligible be hired?

An unfortunate aspect of the JET Program's popularity is that not all eligible applicants are able to become JETs. Once the Tokyo office has determined how many current JETs are recontracting, how many are leaving, which contracting organizations are reducing their JETs, and which contracting organizations are increasing their JETs, it can then determine how many new JETs each country is allowed to send. Several applicants who are not intially placed on the "short list" are asked to stay on an alternate list, from which upgrades can be made as late as December. top


  • Why does the JET Program have an age policy of 40?

One of JET's main goals is to promote youth-to-youth exchange between young Japanese and young professionals from around the world, which is why there is an age limit. Applicants who are 40 years old or a little above may still be considered on a case-by-case basis. However, only those with English teaching experience and a background living in, working in, and/or studying Asia will be seriously considered.top

  • Do I have to know Japanese to be eligible?

Those applying for the CIR (Coordinator for International Relations) position must have at least an upper intermediate to advanced level of Japanese proficiency (approximately JLPT level 2 or above) in order to be considered eligible. ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) applicants are not required to have any knowledge of the Japanese language, although it is beneficial and highly recommended to have some speaking ability before going to Japan. SEAs must be able to communicate in either English or Japanese.

  • How many JETs does the U.S. accept each year?

Acceptance rates vary from year to year depending upon how many current JETs choose to stay or leave and depending upon the needs of various contracting organizations. The Japanese embassies and consulates are given set numbers every year, which strictly determines how many new JETS each country can send. To see current country statistics, please click here. top


  • What do I need in order to apply?

Please see the Applying page and the JET Program USA page for detailed instructions on application procedures and requirements.top

  • Can I apply again if I applied last year? What if I turned down a position? What if I'm currently on an alternate list?

You may apply again in a following year if you were unsuccessful or placed on an alternate list. If you were offered a position and you turned it down before finding out your assigned placement, you may reapply in the following year as well. However, if you turned down the position after learning of your placement assignment, then you must wait 1 year before reapplying. If you turned down a position after learning of your placement assignment on account of extenuating circumstances (such as an illness), please contact the Washington, DC JET Program Office at jet[at]embjapanDOTorg. If you are reapplying while on an alternate list, you will still be eligible to be upgraded until mid-December. Please notify your JET Program coordinator upon being upgraded if you have submitted an application for the following year.top

  • Can I apply for both the CIR and ALT positions?

No, you can only apply for one at a time, not both concurrently. However, CIR applicants are able to indicate that they would be interested in being considered for the ALT position if their Japanese is deemed inadequate or if there are not enough CIR openings. ALTs will not be considered for the CIR position.top

  • When can I apply for the JET Program?

JET applications become available on the JET Program USA website in late September/early October the autumn before the departure year (for the 2010 year, applications will become available the first week of October 2009). They are due in late November/early December (the deadline for the 2010 year is November 24, 2009). Please see the JET Program USA website for updates on application availability and deadlines.  top

  • Can I send additional materials, such as my resume or CV?

While some additional information, such as results of language proficiency tests, can be beneficial, other materials like artwork portfolios, pictures, and resumes will likely be discarded prior to review. Please limit your application packet to include only those items requested and/or directly relelvant for the program.top

  • Can you keep my transcripts and letters of reference on file if I don't get in this year?

Unfortunately, the program's scope and large number of applicants each year makes it impossible for us to keep documents on hand in anticipation of future applications. In order to be considered eligible for future application seasons, all prior applicants must resubmit entirely new applications complete with transcripts and letters of reference.top

  • Can I send an application after the deadline?

Given the program's popularity and competitiveness, we must stick very strictly to our deadlines. Please note that deadlines are NOT "send by" dates. All applications must be in the Washington, DC JET Program office by end of business (5:30 pm EST) on the deadline date to be eligible. No applications will be accepted past this time or date.top

  • I was a JET previously. When can I reapply?

As of the 2010 application year, JET alumni are eligible to reapply 3 years after finishing their prior JET contract. Former JETs who finished their JET contracts by 2007 or before are eligible to apply for the 2010 season (prior to the 2010 application season, the waiting period was 10 years). However, there is a 5 year limit to a JET's participation. Therefore, a JET alum who previously spent 3 years working with JET would only be eligible to participate for 2 more years on a second term with the program.top

  • Should I open a letter of reference to make copies?

No. While it would be ideal if your references supplied you with 2 copies of their letters of reference and reference forms (in addition to the 1 original of each), if they have not then it is in your best interests to submit the letters unopened. It will not count against you to have only one copy of your letter of reference, whereas submitting a nonconfidential reference letter could negatively affect your application.top

  • Why can't I send letters of reference or transcripts separately?

The Washington, DC JET office is inundated with several thousand applications every year. Sorting through all of the applications takes a great deal of time and work; having pieces sent in separately only prolongs the process and increases the possibility that a vital part of an application may become lost or not matched with the rest of the application. Therefore, we ask that applicants send in complete applications.top


Interviews and Notification
  • Can I change my interview time or location?

Once you have submitted your application, your interview location cannot be changed. Interview times are determined by JET Program coordinators at Japanese consulates. To determine whether or not your interview time can be altered, contact the JET Program coordinator at the interview location you indicated on your application. Coordinator contact information can be found here: http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/JET/contact.html. Please be advised that there is a very short period of time in February in which JET interviews must take place. If you are not able to interview during this time, then you will be disqualified.top

  • I can't interview in February. Can't I do it by phone or in another month?

No, the JET Program operates by a very strict timeline. Interviews must take place in person at the location indicated on the application during the month of February. If you are not able to interview during this time, you will be disqualified.top

  • When will I find out if I got an interview?

After your application has been processed, a card will be sent to you with an ID number (this is the same ID number that appears on the upper right-hand corner of an application once it has been electronically submitted). After all of the applications have been processed and reviewed, a pdf document will be uploaded at the JET Program USA website in mid-late January/early February. If your ID number is listed, then you have been selected for an interview. The JET Program coordinator at the interview location you indicated on your application will contact you to arrange a time. Interviews take place in February.top

  • Am I allowed to talk about my interview with others? 

Please do not discuss your interview questions or experiences with others, particularly on public blogs and forums. We understand interviews can be anxious experiences and therefore you may want to hear how others did and share your own experiences. However, interviews can vary from location to location and from interviewer to interviewer. Sometimes questions may be the same, but very often they are tailored to each applicant. We want to hear each applicant's honest answers, which is not always possible if he or she has followed the advice, suggestions, and examples of other applicants. This is not to an applicant's advantage. Please listen to your own instincts rather than to others'.

JET interviews are confidential, as are the questions posed therein. JET related blogs and internet communities are regularly monitored, and releasing confidential information in a public sphere may result in disqualification.top

  • When will I find out if I got in?

Notifications are made in April of the departure year. Placement details follow in May and June.top

  • What is the selection procedure?

Applications received by or before the deadline are processed and reviewed by a select committee of professionals and former JETs. After all qualified applications have been reviewed, candidates will be notified whether or not they have been chosen for an interview in mid-late January or early February. All interviews must take place in February at the interview location indicated by the applicant in the application. Interview results are sent to the Tokyo office where the final decisions are made. Notifications will be released in April from the consulate the applicant interviewed with. Placement notifications will be made in May and June. Departures take place in late July and early August, depending upon the city. Alternate upgrades can take place from April until mid-December.top

  • I'm an alternate. What are my chances of an upgrade?

Unfortunately, coordinators are not authorized to tell alternates their specific place on the alternate list. Moreover, as many alternates choose to drop out, those initial rankings are not necessarily an accurate reflection as to which alternates will be upgraded. Coordinators have the right to pass over a higher-ranked alternate in favor of one who has already turned in all required documents, particularly if there is a short time period until departure. Therefore, we highly encourage all alternates apply for and submit the same materials as short list candidates.top

  • I'm a U.S. citizen studying abroad in another country that participates with the JET Program. Can I interview there?

Every country has a different set of standards and requirements for screening and selecting JET applicants. Therefore, all U.S. applicants must be able to interview at a Japanese consulate in the United States in February of the departure year. There are no exceptions.top

  • Can I interview in one city but leave from another?

This depends upon which city you interviewed in and which you wish to depart from. The interviewing and departure cities are divided into two groups: Group A and Group B. An accepted candidate who interviewed in a Group A city is permitted to transfer to depart from another city in the A list. The same is true for those in Group B. An accepted candidate who interviewed in a Group A city is not permitted to transfer to depart from a city in Group B, nor is an accepted candidate who interviewed in a Group B city allowed to depart from a Group A city.

Group A (late July departure)

Group B (early August departure)

New York, NY
Washington, DC
Atlanta, GA
Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Nashville, TN
Houston, TX
San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Portland, OR
Phoenix, AZ (interview only)
Anchorage, AK
Seattle, WA
Honolulu, HI
Spokane, WA (interview only)
Hagatna, Guam
Denver, CO
Miami, FL
Salt Lake City, UT (interview only)
Detroit, MI
Tokyo (departure only - foreign residents of Japan; Group A)

Upgraded alternates may leave at the same time as short-listed JETs if the change in status occurs early enough (usually before mid-June). Otherwise, upgraded alternates will leave in Group C in mid-August. Unlike Groups A and B, Group C is not determined by departure city, but rather by the date by which an alternate was upgraded. Group C will also go to Tokyo for an orientation similar to Groups A and B. Alternates upgraded after the Group C departure will not have a Tokyo orientation and their departure date can vary based on need.top

  • Why was I not chosen? Can I contact the embassy or consulate for feedback?

Unfortunately, due to the program's popularity and competitiveness, not all qualified applicants can be chosen. In fact, the majority of JET applicants will be unsuccessful. Sometimes candidates are not chosen based on technicalities in the application, such as:

  • Submitting insufficient or incomplete required documents
  • Not meeting basic requirements
  • Neglecting to sign the application or neglecting to sign at all required places
  • Submitting a statement of purpose that is full of spelling or grammatical errors or whose content does not adequately address an applicant's motivation for participation, relevant experience, and goals
  • Not submitting a complete application by the deadline

Sometimes applications are unsuccessful because they did not rank high enough to go on to the interview stage. Even if an applicant is selected for an interview, there is a strong chance that he or she may not be chosen. This is partially determined by number limitations and partially determined through rankings. We encourage qualified unsuccessful applicants to reapply in future years.

JET coordinators are not authorized to discuss applications or interviews with candidates.top


  • What are the JET jobs offered?

There are three JET positions: 1) ALT - Assistant Language Teacher, 2) CIR - Coordinator for International Relations, 3) SEA - Sports Exchange Advisors. SEA positions are very rare and applicants must be recommended by either their home countries' National Olympic Committees or another government organization. The SEA application season takes place in the spring, and openings, if available, will be posted on the JET Program USA website in January. For more on these positions, please refer to the overview page, the JET Program USA website, or the JET Programme International website.top

  • How much does the JET Program pay?

Remuneration is approximately ¥3,600,000 per anum before Japanese income tax and resident's taxes are deducted. ALTs from the United States are eligible for exemption from Japanese taxes if they apply for and submit an IRS 6166 form (applied for with an IRS 8122 form) before departure. This exemption is only applicable for 2 years. U.S. JETs are also able to file for a Foreign Earned Income tax exemption with the IRS, which is applicable for up to 2 years and up to $80,000. Please speak to a tax official for more information.*

Please note that actual earned income can vary, as payments for the national health insurance program, contributions to the pension fund program, and payments to employment insurance are mandatory and will be deducted from monthly paychecks. Schools or boards of education may also automatically deduct rent or other fees from salaries, and therefore it is in a JET's best interests to ask what he or she is being charged in supplemental expenses. Upon returning to their home countries, JETs are eligible to apply for a Lump-sum Withdrawal Payment pension refund if applied for within 2 years of leaving Japan.

*The JET Program USA, JET Programme International, and CLAIR do not specialize in tax matters. Neither the JET Program nor the Consulate General of Japan in Miami take responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained here or in any JET-related materials concerning U.S. or Japanese taxes. It is in each participant's interests to independently verify the steps necessary to apply for and be granted tax exemption.
Please be advised that, as tax policies are liable to change, the information contained here or in any JET-related materials are not necessarily accurate. Please contact the proper tax authorities for guidance and instruction.top
  • How long is the JET contract for?

JET contracts are for 1 year in length and, in some cases, can be renewed up to 4 times for a maximum total of 5 years. Contracts commence on the day after the date of arrival in Japan and end exactly one year later. JET Alumni who are participating with JET for a second time are also limited to 5 years total, including the time from their previous term.top

  • What is JET housing like?

Contracting organizations are required to provide housing for JETs, but the quality and cost can vary from JET to JET. Some JETs are provided with spacious, subsidized housing, while others are asked to pay full rent for a small apartment. Applicants and candidates cannot request "types" of housing; that is something that must be negotiated with contracting organizations. Most JETs inherit housing from predecessors, and many predecessors choose to leave or sell furnishings to their successors. In some cases, JETs may be asked to pay a non-refundable deposit known as "key money" upon arriving at their towns in order to secure their housing. Therefore, we recommend JETs bring at least $2,000 with them to cover potential initial expenses. Once placement decisions have been made, new JETs should be contacted by their predecessors and/or contracting organizations, who should be able to inform and advise new JETs on living situations and any upfront expenses to expect.top

  • What if I want to stay in Japan after I finish my contract?

All JETs are issued 3-year work visas upon being hired by JET regardless of how long they intend to stay. Those JETs who recontract for a fourth year and beyond must apply for new visas. If you choose to stay in Japan after completing your JET contract and your visa is about to expire, you will need to apply for a Temporary Visitor Visa. This will cover you for up to 90 days; if you attempt to leave Japan after your visa (either the JET visa or the temporary visitor visa) expires, then you may be detained as an illegal alien and deported.

Only apply for visitor visas in the days immediately before your JET visa is due to expire, as otherwise it will replace your work visa and you will be working illegally. If your JET visa has not expired, then you are allowed to stay in Japan for up to 90 days after finishing your JET contract. Please note that a visa is only valid if you are working under the conditions specified by that particular visa. If you choose to stay in Japan and work for a new employer, you will need to change to a new work visa before your JET visa is set to expire. A JET visa is only for those working on the JET Program.

A contracting organization is only obligated to pay return fare to a JET if the JET has fully completed his or her contract and if he or she leaves Japan within 1 month of finishing the contract.top

  • Can I bring my family to Japan with me?

Spouses and children may accompany JETs on a general dependent visa, which is good for 3 years and 1 entry. Spouses and children must travel to Japan within 3 months of the dependent visa's issuance. JETs are recommended to bring 2 or more notarized copies of marriage licenses and children's birth certificates. Please note that those on a dependent visa are not eligible to work unless they apply to a local immigration office for a provision that permits dependents to work a maximum of 20 hours per week. Alternatively, a JET spouse can arrange a job prior to departing for Japan and present a Certificate of Eligibility to a Japanese embassy or consulate to receive a work visa. Please note that the JET Program does not assist non-JET spouses in finding employment or in getting work visas. The JET Program also cannot help with finding schools or childcare.

We ask that JETs not bring spouses or children to the Tokyo orientation, as this can be a very stressful and busy time. It is better to wait a few days to a few weeks before having a family join you at your contracting organization. The JET Program does not pay for JET dependent travel arrangements.top

  • Can my boyfriend/girlfriend/common-law partner come with me?

The only people eligible for dependent visas are spouses and children under the age of 18. Dependent visas cannot be issued to boyfriends, girlfriends, or common-law partners. American citizens are eligible to enter Japan for up to 3 months without requiring a visa. If you or your partner is not an American citizen, please contact a Japanese consulate or embassy to ask about immigration and visiting requirements for your or your partner's nationality.top

  • Can I bring a pet to Japan with me?

No. Japan has very strict quarantine laws and your first few days in Japan will be too hectic and scheduled to provide you with the time necessary to take care of legal issues involved with importing an animal into Japan. Some JETs choose to purchase or adopt pets after moving to Japan and bring them back to their home countries after completing their contracts. However, these JETs do so at their own risk. Before adopting a pet, JETs should check with their building managers or supervisors to see if pets are allowed.top

  • Can I request where I want to go?

Yes, JET applicants can request up to 3 locations on the application as well as provide an explanation for why they should be placed in one of those areas. JET requests are taken into consideration when making placement assignments, but please be aware that JET positions in cities are relatively rare and many JETs may be assigned to areas far from where they requested. Even though JETs have the option to request specific placements, they are not guaranteed to be placed in one of those areas, and applicants need to be prepared to go wherever it is they may be assigned.

All JET placement assignments are final; if you decide not to go to the place in which you have been assigned, please inform your JET Program coordinator immediately that you wish to withdraw from the program. If you turn down your JET offer after learning of your assigned placement, you will not be eligible to reapply for JET for 1 year.top

  • Can I work at another job while employed by the JET Program?

No, the JET Program has a very strict policy that JET Participants are only allowed to work for their contracting organizations. If it is discovered that you have been working another job while on JET, this will be grounds for immediate dismissal.top

  • I heard that the JET Program might be canceled soon. Is that true?

No, that is just a rumor. While some contracting organizations are choosing to eliminate JET positions and/or independently contract for their ALTs or CIRs, there are other contracting organizations asking for new JET positions every year as well. JET numbers fluctuate from year to year, but given current JET participation statistics, the JET Program is still very strong and there are no indications that it will be canceled anytime soon.top

(c) Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu
1742 Nuuanu Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96817 USA
Tel: 808-543-3111