Introduction Organisations Aspiring JETs Current JETs Former JETs

History of the JET Programme

The JET Programme was started in 1987 by local authorities in cooperation with 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).

 

It was started with the purpose of increasing mutual understanding between the people of Japan and the people of other nations. It aims to promote internationalisation in Japan’s local communities by helping to improve foreign language education and developing international exchange at the community level. Now in its 27th year, the JET Programme has seen significant growth: from its original 848 participants from four countries in 1987 to 4,372 participants from 40 countries in 2013. Over 55,000 people from 62 different countries have participated in the Programme since its inception.

 

The JET Programme is one of the world’s largest international exchange programmes and has an excellent reputation in Japan as well as abroad. The Programme is expected to encourage growth on a global scale through the development of an international network between JET participants and the people of Japan.

 

1987

From four countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand), 848 people visited Japan as the first participants of the JET Programme: 35 as Coordinators for International Relations (CIR) to work in local public entities and 813 as Assistant Language Teachers (ALT) to teach at public junior and senior high schools. They attended Post-Arrival Orientation and Mid-Year Seminars

1988

1,443 participants from six countries, newly including Canada and Ireland

1989

1,987 participants from eight countries, newly including Germany and France (German and French included in the targeted languages); the JET Alumni Association (JETAA) was founded for former JET participants. (Initially 37 chapters → 2013: 52 chapters); started seminars for participants who choose to recontract for the following year

1990

2,284 participants from eight countries

1991

2,874 participants from eight countries

1992

3,325 participants from nine countries newly including China, and the number of participants exceeded the initial target of 3,000 people; established the Counselling System Committee (CSC), comprised of three (four at present) professional counselors; dispatched Prefectural Advisers (PA) to organisations to give advice on the establishment and management of a counselling system for the JET Programme

1993

3,785 participants from 10 countries, newly including South Korea

1994

4,185 participants from 11 countries; started the invitation of Sports Exchange Advisers (SEA); started seminars on Japanese language

1995

4,628 participants from 15 countries

1996

5,032 participants from 18 countries

1997

5,332 participants from 27 countries; started the Conferences for Returning JETs; introduced the merit-rating system

1998

5,691 participants from 34 countries; Chinese and Korean included in the targeted languages; started supporting JETAA activities

1999

5,835 participants from 37 countries; started seminars for contracting organisations

2000

6,078 participants from 39 countries; achieved target of 6,000 participants; conducted an appraisal survey

2001

6,190 participants from 39 countries; started supporting the organisation of counselling sessions by prefecture; started developing Self-Support Group Leaders (SGL), counsellors for the increasing number of JET participants from non-English countries, selected SGLs for each language; started supporting regional meetings of JETAA

2002

6,273 participants from 40 countries (record highest); created Elementary School Specialist ALT position (20 ALTs in the first year); established the position of Specialist PA for those who have been participating in the JET Programme for more than three years; increased the upper age limit from “younger than 35" to “younger than 40"

2003

6,226 participants from 41 countries

2004

6,103 participants from 41 countries

2005

5,853 participants from 44 countries; included Russian in the targeted languages

2006

5,508 participants from 44 countries

2007

5,119 participants from 41 countries; first-year ALTs allowed to become Elementary School ALTs provided a high Japanese ability; third-year participants allowed to reappoint with their current contracting organisation if the contracting organisation deems them outstanding and offers them reappointment; specialist PA position eliminated and Elementary School Specialist ALT title returned to ALT.

2008

4,682 participants from 38 countries

2009

4,436 participants from 36 countries

2010

4,334 participants from 36 countries

2011

4,330 participants from 39 countries

2012

4,360 participants from 40 countries

2013

4,372 participants from 40 countries