Thank you for assuming the role of Prefectural AJET officer. This position will allow you to participate actively in the improvement of the JET Program, gain a lot of good experience and have fun with some great people in the process.
We’ve gathered together some materials to make your job a little easier:
If you have additional questions, please be sure to contact your block rep. You can find their contact information here.
Congratulations and good luck!
The Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching (AJET) is a support network for JET Programme participants. It has existed since the inception of the JET Programme and is run on a volunteer basis, by JETs, for JETs.
On a national scale, the AJET National Council represents JETs, their views and their concerns to CLAIR and the government ministries that manage the JET Programme, primarily at biannual Opinion Exchange meetings.
The AJET National Council also coordinates other activities around Japan aimed at supporting JET participants in their daily life and at work, including:
There are more than 5,000 JET Programme participants in Japan at any given time, and in 2010, some 4,000 JETs were AJET members. Having several thousand members is an achievement made possible by the simple fact that membership in National AJET is FREE. In addition, there is no membership fee for Prefectural AJET Chapters, Special Interest Groups (SIGs), Language Groups (LGs), or Nationality Groups (NGs) to be affiliated with National AJET. Free membership for National AJET is made possible through sales of National AJET publications and sponsorship by our Group Associate Members, or GAMs, who provide services relevant to JETs.
One of the ways in which AJET makes sure that so many members spread across Japan are properly represented is by dividing Japan into “blocks” and having a representative from each block on the National Council. The Block Representative should be in close contact with Prefectural AJET Chapters in their region to be sure that all JETs receive important announcements from National AJET or other AJET chapters, are aware of the broad services available to them, and are a part of the larger social network. The Block Representative will periodically ask you to pass on announcements or ask for information about your chapter. We kindly ask that you honor these requests in a timely manner.
Closer to home, AJET Prefectural Chapters also organise events and provide support to JETs at a local level. This handbook is dedicated to the workings of AJET all over Japan and your place on that team.
Your Block Representative will be your main point of contact at AJET. If you do not know which Block you below to, please consult the chart below.
Block Arrangements as of 2013
Block 1: Akita 秋田, Aomori 青森, Hokkaido 北海度, Iwate 岩手
Block 2: Fukushima 福島, Miyagi 宮城, Niigata 新潟, Yamagata 山形
Block 3: Gunma 群馬, Ibaraki 茨城, Saitama 埼玉, Tochigi 栃木, Nagano 長野
Block 4: Chiba 千葉, Kanagawa 神奈川, Tokyo 東京, Yamanashi 山梨, Shizuoka 静岡
Block 5: Toyama 富山, Gifu 岐阜, Ishikawa 石川, Fukui 福井, Aichi 愛知
Block 6: Hyogo 兵庫, Kyoto 京都, Shiga 滋賀,
Block 7:, Osaka 大阪, Wakayama 和歌山, Mie 三重, Nara 奈良
Block 8: Ehime 愛媛, Kagawa 香川, Kochi 高知, Tokushima 徳島
Block 9: Tottori 鳥取, Hiroshima 広島, Yamaguchi 山口, Shimane 島, Okayama 岡山
Block 10: Saga 佐賀, Nagasaki 長崎, Fukuoka 福岡, Oita 大分
Block 11: Kumamoto 熊本, Miyazaki 宮崎, Kagoshima 鹿児島, Okinawa 沖縄
You can find out who your current Block Representative is and contact them here.
To make contacting individual Prefectural AJET Chapter easier, Naitonal AJET has assigned an email address to each chapter. Chapters can be contacted at (for example, Nara AJET can be contacted at ). This is a forwarding email account — meaning that emails sent to this address can be sent to any email address, as designated by your chapter. Please make sure that the address it should be forwarded to is updated when your Prefectural AJET officers change by emailing your Block Representative.
Please also make sure your website, facebook page, or forum information is up-to-date on our website. Go to AJET Prefectural Chapter Contacts and check your chapter’s listings. If the links are incorrect, please email your Block Representative and the AJET webmaster () asking that they be changed.
Without members AJET wouldn’t exist. Please help us by directing JETs in your prefecture to our easy online membership registration system — and be sure to register yourself as well if you haven’t yet!
We are currently in the process of changing our online registration system. Registration will soon be available on ajet.net — and even simpler than ever. Check back later for details.
You can register for AJET Special Interest Groups (SIGs) at http://sigs.ajet.net.
New JETs are usually very anxious to find out more about the prefecture in which they have been placed and may contact their local AJET Chapter prior to arrival in Japan. Please welcome the new JETs and provide some basic information about your chapter and prefecture.
An AJET Prefectural Chapter should make every effort to have some presence at conferences and orientations, especially local orientations and meetings.
Lookbook Pages – This is a B4-size page advertising your chapter. At each conference there will be several large books to put these pages into that JETs can view at the AJET Desk. This is your chance to show the new JETs what your Chapter is all about and remind the re-contracting JETs what you have done this year. Make it as bright and exciting as possible! Include pictures and/or highlights of past events, preview of future events, pictures of your council, fun slogans, etc.
Please make sure to include: your prefecture’s name, your prefectural website (if any), and a contact name and e-mail address for your Chapter. If known, also include information on when and where your Chapter sign-ups will be held and membership fees, if any.
The Block Representatives will handle putting the Lookbooks together. You will need to mail Lookbook pages to your Block Representative. Your Block Representative will give you more information and deadlines in the Spring or early summer.
*Remember that not all JETs speak English as a first language. In fact, not all JETs speak English! Try to include information about your Prefectural Chapter in Japanese. At the very least, try to include contact information for one perapera Japanese Speaker on your Council.
Contact your Tokyo Orientation Assistants – Find out from your PAs who in your prefecture is going to Tokyo Orientation and ask them to talk briefly about your AJET Chapter. With prefectural meetings, enkais, and travel time from Tokyo to your home prefecture, TOAs have ample opportunity to talk about your Chapter. You can even make their life easier by giving them a flyer to hand out to all the new JETs. The flyer could be a smaller version of your Lookbook page with more specific contact details, or information on your chapter’s welcome party. (JETs may have limited internet/phone access in their first month — Make attending events in August easy for them. Include the meeting time, place, etc. well in advance!)
Reach out to late arrivals in Tokyo Orientation C – While you may hear little about this Orientation, it is very important to a small group of people: SEAs and late arrival ALTs and CIRs. This orientation is shorter and smaller than Tokyo Orientations A and B so JETs coming to Japan during this Orientation don’t have the opportunity to meet lots of fellow JETs. Ask your PAs if you have any JETs coming over during this orientation. Try to make sure they know about your next upcoming event and try to introduce them to local JETs.
Finally, don’t forget about April Orientation for Non-English Teaching ALTs – There is an even less talked-about Orientation in April for Brazilian, Chinese, Korean, and Peruvian ALTs. While these JETs don’t necessarily speak English, they normally have a high level of Japanese. Find out from your PA if you have one coming to your prefecture. Have a Japanese-speaking Prefectural Council members introduce your AJET Chapter to them. Try to give them a list of local contacts that can speak good Japanese. Don’t forget to invite these JETs to your upcoming AJET events, too.
New JET Prefectural Orientations
No matter how many Prefectural Orientations you might have, try to make sure that you have a presence at all of them. Ask your PAs for some time to talk about your AJET Chapter, introduce your team, talk about upcoming events, pass out your latest prefectural newsletter, and sign members up! It’s important that you directly inform new JETs about your prefectural AJET’s Facebook group, forum or listserv so they will stay up-to-date on your activities and let them know about dues — if applicable.
There are many National AJET events, awards, and programs. The following activities may be of particular interest to Prefectural AJET Chapters. (Please visit ajet.net and take a look at the “Services” section to see a more complete list of AJET activities).
At the beginning of every month, National AJET sends out an eBulletin to all its members to inform them of National AJET activities and events.
All AJET members should receive this e-mail. If you or one of your members is not receiving this useful bulletin, please direct them to the online sign-up here.
If you have an event you think neighboring prefectures or JETs from all over the country might be interested in, please contact the Communications Liaison () to list your event in the eBulletin. The deadline for the next month’s eBulletin is the 15th of the month prior. It need not be an AJET event, just something JETs might be interested in! Since National AJET is aiming to produce more content in both English and Japanese, please send information about your event in both languages if possible.
In between eBulletins, liking the National AJET facebook page is one of the easiest ways to stay up-to-date on National AJET activities. Please be sure to join at www.facebook.com/AJETJapan and encourage your Prefectural AJET members to do the same.
If you have an event or project that you would like the National AJET facebook page to promote, please contact the PR Liaison ().
AJET Games are designed to bring teams of JETs, friends, and Japanese people together to compete in sports tournaments at various locations across the country.
The AJET National Council is looking for AJET Chapters and Groups to take up the challenge of organizing an event under the AJET Games banner. It is our hope to have one AJET Games in each Block per year. Local groups are responsible for organizing their AJET Games event in its entirety, leaving them free to attract sponsorship, generate interest in their activities, and possibly earn money for their AJET Chapter or for worthy charities. Some possible sports include: Touch Football, Rugby, Basketball, Netball, Ten Pin Bowling, Chess, Badminton, Beach Volleyball, Billiards, Softball, Ultimate Frisbee – even Natto-Eating and Janken!
The AJET National Council presents reports to CLAIR and MEXT in May and November. These reports are on a wide range of issues facing JETs. Before National AJET can write these reports, it needs information, much of it collected from local JETs in surveys. Twice a year, usually in October and February, National AJET holds online surveys on a wide range of topics. The more respondents we have, the stronger a voice National AJET can bring to these meetings. All JETs are encouraged to take these surveys and have their voices heard! Please help us promote these surveys in your prefecture.
Every year National AJET recognizes some of the outstanding contributions of Prefectural AJET Chapters and individual AJET members by presenting them National AJET Awards, including the AJET Chapter Award, Best Inter-prefectural Event Award, and Best Sports Event Award. See the full list of awards and recent winners here.
Winning an AJET Award can be a good goal to motivate your chapter throughout the year! Be sure to inform your chapter when nominations start in the spring, and don’t be shy — you can nominate yourself if you think you’ve done a great job!
If you have developed teaching resources on your Prefectural AJET website, please show them off and share them with the rest of the JET community. Go to our Prefectural AJET Teaching Resources page and check if yours is listed. If not, please contact the AJET webmaster () asking that it be added.
If you have a Prefectural Magazine that is not yet participating in AJET Press, please suggest that they join! Contact the AJET webmaster () for more information.
AJET Prefectural Representatives are liaisons between the AJET National Council (through the Block Representative) and JET participants in your prefecture. The duties of Prefectural Representatives vary from chapter to chapter depending on many factors, including chapter organization, number of JETs in the prefecture, available resources, etc.
However, there are some things Prefectural Representatives should do or make sure happens in their AJET Prefectural Chapter:
Many AJET Chapters have about one event for month, but that may vary based on many factors. The type and frequency of events is up to you. However, there are a few other things that happen during the year that you should keep in mind:
An AJET Prefectural Chapter Treasurer plays an important role in your Prefectural AJET Chapter. The treasurer is responsible for keeping detailed records of all financial transactions that occur, in addition to other duties.
If you need to change over the name of your AJET account, please do so right away. Each Prefectural Chapter should have a bank account.
All AJET Prefectural Chapters are expected to maintain Balance Sheets. The balance sheet is a record of the inflow and outflow of money from your Prefectural Chapter. AJET Prefectural Chapters are an extension of the AJET organization, because of this, the actions of each chapter reflect on the AJET National Council. Prefectural Chapters must be responsible with their money and ethical in their collection and use of finances. These directions are not an attempt to run your Chapter, rather they are in place to give AJET as much accountability as possible.
All materials should be filed and saved both electronically and on paper if possible. Files should be saved for three years in physical paper copies to provide transparency and assist in smooth transitions between councils.
Goal setting is a tool that can help focus your prefectural AJET chapter, helping them to achieve more.[hide-this-part morelink=”Show Leadership Team Goals Worksheet”]
Below is a list of questions to help get your team started. These questions are just a jumping off point — hopefully they will lead to a meaningful discussion about the purpose and future of your chapter.
|What role does your AJET Chapter play in your community? Or what role should it play?|
|What are the needs of a new JET? How can you help address those needs?|
|What are the needs of returning JETs? How can AJET meet their needs?|
|What was your favorite AJET event or non-JET/work related experience in Japan? What did you like about this event?|
|What was your least favorite AJET event or non-JET/work related experience in Japan? What can you learn from this experience?|
|How will you share your specific skills and passions with the JET community this year?|
|AJET Goals for the coming year:|
There are countless things you can do in Japan. The following is a list of ideas for you to start with. Depending on your location they might be a simple afternoon of fun or a weekend bus trip.
Great for Newbies
Sports Events (to see)
Sports Events (to host)
Keeping a log of your events — with contact information for venues, any problems that you encountered, etc — and leaving it for your successor will be really useful. You may also learn something useful for future events.
|Number of Participants: Event Date:|
|Venue Name / Contact Information:|
|Other Revenue Sources:|
|Proceeds going to Charity: ______________________________ or into AJET budget.|
|Description of Event:|
|Publicity for Event:|
National AJET has gathered some topical advice from Prefectural AJET leaders to give you a little perspective on issues that many AJET Chapters face. We currently cover:
Is there a topic that’s not included but that you have questions about? Do you have advice to offer other Prefectural AJET Chapters? Contact.
– Bryan Darr
– Erica Nakanishi-Stanis
Chair, Chiba AJET
Download the Fukuoka AJET Handbook to see a sample.
Fukuoka AJET Prefectural Representative
Four years ago the Kumamoto AJET team decided we needed a stronger support program for our new JETs. The welcome events were fun, and well attended, but that didn’t show a new JET how to use their washing machine or where to buy new lightbulbs, etc.
The first year we asked for volunteers who would be a sempai to the incoming JETs and we sent a note in their welcome packet explaining the program. About 20 Sempai signed up and just 14 incomers, or Kohai. Our informative little flyer had gotten lost in the mix.
Over the last few years there have been quite a few improvements and here is how it works today:
1) In June a request is sent to current JETs who will be available during the arrival periods. We include a list of commonly asked questions and requests from new JETs to help prepare our Sempai.
2) Sempai are primarily assigned geographically, to provide the most specific advice, but special sempai are also available for JETs of Asian Decent, JETs of African Decent, LGBTQ JETs, Vegetarian and Vegan JETs, and JETs with Spouses/Family.
3) Every new JET is assigned a Sempai, they receive a phone number and email address at Tokyo Orientation and they can choose to contact the sempai if/when they want some help, advice, or a friend to hang out with.
4) Kumamoto AJET keeps a list of all the assigned Sempai and in September/October we check in to make sure everything is going well with both Sempai and Kohai, so everyone feels they are a part of our JET Community.
– Suzy Lee Ogata
See the Smile Kids Japan website for a complete guide to finding/contacting an orphanage, preparing for your first visit, activity suggestions and more.
– Kat Kovacs