Each month, Connect will ask you a question to get your opinion on life, the universe, and everything. Check out the numbers next month to see what JETs around Japan are thinking!
On May 12th and 13th, the Spring 2013 Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching (AJET) Opinion Exchange Meeting was held in Tokyo. This is a biannual meeting between the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC); the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA); the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT); the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR); and National AJET. The topics of discussion were: Reappointment and Retention; Professional Development for Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs); and the AJET National Council 2013 General Activities.
Reappointment and Retention
This report examines how JET participants approach, weigh, and resolve the decision to accept or decline reappointment offers based on a survey conducted among current and former JET participants. The report also aims to equip contracting organisations with the participants’ perspective regarding reappointment and retention. Additionally, this report presents recommendations for keeping effective participants employed on the JET Programme longer and for motivating participants to complete their terms of appointment. You can read the report here and the discussion summary here.
Professional Development of Coordinators for International Relations
This report focuses on current JET Programme CIRs who engage in all manner of international exchange activities in government offices, international centres and other organisations throughout Japan. This report voices CIRs’ opinions on existing JET-affiliated professional development opportunities and makes suggestions for future services. You can read the report here and the discussion summary here.
AJET National Council 2013 General Activities
This general activities report details the 2012-2013 National Council’s activities, accomplishments, and accounts. This report encompasses a summary of all council work throughout the year, examining both those goals set and successfully achieved as well as areas for future improvement and reassessment. This report was presented to facilitate dialogue for improving and bettering existing service and support systems for all JET participants. You can read the report here and the discussion summary here.
After the presentation and opinion exchange of the aforementioned three reports, time was allocated for open discussion, based on the theme of ‘Networking for Life after JET’. The following represents a summary of this discussion:
- With regards to the issue of ‘Networking for Life after JET’, the Ministries, CLAIR, and AJET all agree that this is important to continue to promote to JET participants. Many social networking avenues already exist and are very active among JET alumni for the purpose of maintaining connections and networking, including opportunities for both online and face to face interactions.
- The Ministries, CLAIR and AJET expressed a desire to increase professional networking opportunities through the JET Programme Alumni Association (JETAA), various other alumni programmes, chapters or associations, ambassador-type initiatives and other avenues. AJET will consider more ways to encourage participants leaving the Programme to maintain ties with Japan, such as through sister-city relationships, embassy or JETAA chapter events, kenjin-kai (prefectural associations) or other JET-affiliated, senior-junior networking programmes such as the JETAA Tokyo mentorship programme.
- By utilising these avenues and participating in more initiatives, JET Programme alumni can positively promote Japan and their experiences on the Programme, using both the personal and professional networks they developed while in Japan.
The Spring 2013 AJET Opinion Exchange Meeting was another successful opportunity for discussion and opinion exchange between CLAIR and the Ministries that oversee the JET Programme and AJET. National AJET would like to express its sincere appreciation to MIC, MOFA, MEXT and CLAIR for their continued support of, participation in and contributions to these biannual meetings, and for acknowledging the valuable role such opinion exchanges have in ensuring the continued success of the JET Programme.
Japanese Studies at the University of Oxford – lecture and information session
Professor Ian Neary, Director of the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies at the University of Oxford will be in Tokyo to give a taster lecture on Contemporary Japanese Politics. This will be followed by a presentation on studying Japanese at Oxford, and Q&A with alumni.
The session is a chance for all those interested in the study of Japan to experience a lecture by a leading specialist in Japanese politics and to find out more about studying Japanese and about Japan at Oxford University.
Date/Time: Thursday 16 May 2013 19.00-20.30
Venue: UF Building (Hall or Seminar Room)
Sanbancho UF Building 1F, 6-3 Sanbancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Please book your place by e-mail at email@example.com under the heading “Japanese Studies”. There is no deadline but we would appreciate your early booking.
Lecture: Contemporary Japanese Politics
When the DPJ won the election in 2009 after almost 60 years of the LDP being in power, many thought that this change in government would herald a new era in the political landscape of Japan. Yet three years later the DPJ were soundly defeated in the following election, and the LDP under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been subsequently enjoying very high levels of public support. In this lecture Professor Ian Neary will examine the significance of the 2012 elections and its outcomes. He will also offer an analysis of the performance of Abe so far and focus on the implications of the election on both domestic and foreign policy in Japan. The lecture will be held in English.
Professor Ian Neary
Professor Ian Neary is the Director of the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies and has been working in Oxford since 2004, before which he was a professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Essex. His research has mainly been focused on Japanese political and social history in the twentieth century, particularly the experience of Buraku communities in the process of industrialisation and modernisation. He has also worked on industrial policy, in particular the pharmaceutical industry, on broader issues relating to human rights in East Asia, and contemporary Japanese politics. He is the author of “The State and Politics in Japan”.
Japanese Studies at Oxford University
Japanese has been taught as a degree subject at Oxford University since 1963, and has grown rapidly in recent years. Today the University is a major national and international centre for the study of Japan offering courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, and opportunities for research with some of the world’s leading academics in the field. Courses are taught in both the Oriental Institute which is home to the BA Hons degree course, and the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, which offers both an MSc and an MPhil in Modern Japanese Studies. There are also opportunities for doctoral research in both humanities and social science.
The Nissan Institute was established in 1981 with a generous benefaction from the Nissan Motor Co. Ltd and and since has become one of the major centres in the world for the study of modern Japan. Oxford University is also home to several important Japanese collections in its renowned museums and libraries.
If you have questions, please contact Mayumi Azuma at the University of Oxford Japan Office
Tel 03-3264-0236 – firstname.lastname@example.org
After a long delay, the voting for our 2012 T-Shirt Contest is now underway!
The theme for the contest is “JETset”, but the interpretation of the theme was up to our wonderful entrants! Please take a few moments, vote for your favorite design, and rank all of the designs. The polls will be open for two weeks, closing at midnight on April 24th. Best of luck to all our entrants!
The AJET National Council has put together the following guide to clarify and explain the changes that are proposed in the new constitution which is up for approval. Most of the changes are meant to clarify the current text and correct any spelling or grammatical errors. Some of the changes are updates to the names and titles of AJET’s resources, positions and events, and a few changes are important updates to reflect the current membership body of AJET.
It’s important to note that these amendments are not only the work of the current council, but also of past council members. Most of the changes that are included in the new constitution were proposed by the 2011-2012 AJET National Council. To attribute credit where credit is due, the previous council’s suggestions are noted in the list of changes below. The new constitution is the brainchild of many hours of hard work put in by many people, and we hope you will agree it’s a document that can help National AJET operate efficiently and effectively for years to come.
Please click here to open a PDF of the amended constitution in its entirety in a new window.
AJET Constitution Revisions
The current constitution has very little formatting, and, as such, is very difficult to read, even for members of the AJET National Council. Many of the drastic changes in the appearance of the revised version can be attributed to the new formatting which was added for the purpose of clarity and professionalism. The details of this formatting are below:
- A consistent outline form was applied throughout the document to allow for the sections to be easily identified. The outline form also makes the document more readable overall.
- Titles of articles are now consistently centered and separated by spaces from the content of the article.
- Long paragraphs were avoided when possible and were instead broken up into sections which are clearly labeled or put into outline form.
- Changes were made to correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, and capitalisation and to improve overall linguistic consistency.
- The majority of acronyms were removed to make the document easier to understand for someone unfamiliar with AJET. Any acronyms used are now defined the first time they are used.
- The current constitution uses “National Council”, “AJET National Council” or “NC” to describe the AJET National Council. These multiple terms were all replaced with “AJET National Council” in order to be consistent.
- The order of the Articles was rearranged where appropriate. This was done for clarity, such as making sure that terms were defined before they were written about in another section. It was also done to group similar topics together in order to make information easier to find throughout the document.
The following are general changes to content which have been made throughout the proposed constitutional amendments:
- The current constitution is excessively wordy. Redundant adjectives and phrases were removed, and categories were added in place of “including but not limited to” lists when possible to improve readability.
- Outdated positions which no longer exist on the AJET National Council were removed, and those which have changed names but exist in a similar capacity were updated. These include SEA Representative, Database Administrator (replaced with Website Coordinator), Interpreter (replaced with Translation and Interpretation Coordinator) and AAJ Editor (now Online Publications [AJET Connect] Editor).
- References to Language Groups (LG) and National Groups (NG) have been taken out, since these kinds of groups are now considered to be types of Special Interest Groups (SIGs).
Changes to more specific content are listed according to the article in which they occur in the proposed constitutional amendments:
- The title has been lengthened for clarification purposes on recommendations from previous council. It now spells out the entire name of our association, instead of only including the acronym.
Article I: Name
- The groupings of syllables in the romanisation of the AJET Japanese name have been changed slightly.
- With no difference in meaning, the wording of the sentence defining AJET has been changed for clarity purposes.
- The Japanese translation of “AJET National Council” has been removed from this section on a recommendation from the previous council. It has been relocated to Article IV.
Article II: Purpose
- The description of AJET as a non-profit/not-for-profit organisation has been removed, as AJET does not legally fit the description for either of these types of organisations. (No AJET National Council member is paid for their services.) This will not affect the way that AJET handles its finances.
- The purpose of AJET was simplified to cover a broader range of activities. The phrase “organize events, sponsor special projects[,] and other events, issue publications [...]” was changed to “AJET promotes community and peer fellowship, provides support and resources and acts as the representative body of JET participants.” Please note that “events” and “special projects” are included as “community”, “peer fellowship”, and “support”, and “issuing publications” is included as “resources”. Cooperating with related professional organisations is intended to also be included under community and fellowship, though it can also be seen as a resource or representing JET participants.
- A few specific activities (like Opinion Exchange and Tokyo Orientation meetings) were removed, to allow future councils more flexibility when planning and financing activities which may arise.
- None of the changes in this section were made with the intent of altering the way that AJET functions. The wording has been changed, but, as stated above, it still encompasses all of AJET’s current activities and leaves room for new things that could benefit the JET community.
Article III: Membership
- AJET will only have one type of voting membership on recommendation from the previous council. The current constitution contains both voting and non-voting members, which depends on the paying of dues. As AJET no longer requires membership fees, membership is now simply defined as all current JET participants.
Article IV: National Council
- In the current constitution, this article was Article V. It was moved to this location in order to provide a definition of the AJET National Council before discussing the different positions on the council.
- Positions on the AJET National Council were updated to reflect only those positions that are currently held.
- SEA Representative, Database Administrator and AAJ Editor were removed.
- Because of the small number of currently participating SEAs, it was decided to extend interested representatives or liaisons an opportunity to consult with and contribute to AJET activity on a case by case basis rather than through an appointed position.
- Appointed Officers was added as a broader category instead of specified individual positions (like the Database Administrator and AAJ Editor). The specific positions will be described in the Bylaws so future councils can create and abolish appointed positions as needed on a yearly basis. Appointed positions have historically changed often according to the needs of AJET. Article IV is meant to define the positions of AJET which are consistent, so permanent positions are the only ones defined in this section. This change was implemented on recommendation from the previous council.
- The amendments specify that only elected officers may participate in council votes, while appointed officers are non-voting members of the council. The current constitution names some exceptions to this rule, but it was decided that only the council members who have been directly elected by the members of AJET should have the responsibility to represent the members in council votes. For this reason, the exceptions have been omitted.
- The amendments also allows both the Vice Chair and the Treasurer, as executive officers, to vote in council votes, while the Chair’s vote is still reserved as a tie-breaker.
Article V: Officers and Executive Officers
- Amended Article V is included in the current constitution as Article IV (Officers and Administration).
- The term of office will now be strictly defined as one year, from June 1st until May 31st of the following year. The option which references the “final re-contractors conference” was removed, as the particular type of re-contractors conferences that are referenced are no longer held by CLAIR.
- A description of Appointed Officers was added, as recommended by the previous council, in order to clarify the process of appointing these positions, and to generally outline the type of position so it can be described further in constitutional Bylaws.
Article VI: Meetings
- The contents of Article VI were divided into sections for the purpose of readability.
- Ambiguous phrasing (eg. “AJET shall hold various meetings”) was removed and more specific details about how the meetings are held (in person, via Skype, etc.) was added.
- The number of meetings per year was changed to reflect the discontinuation of the Annual General Meetings (AGM).
- The number of AJET National Council members who must be present in a meeting in order to achieve quorum was increased.
- A minimum two-days notice to be given before holding a meeting was added.
Article VII: Elections
- Article VII was included in the current constitution as Article X.
- It has been clarified that members of the Election Committee may not run for office while serving on the committee.
- It was specified that the elections will be held online and that the Elections Officer and Website Administrator should work together. This was based on the current constitution which does say that the Database Administrator (a position since replaced by the Website Administrator) should be involved in the election process.
- It is now specified that information gained during the elections should be kept confidential.
- A section about council vacancies after an election was added to clarify the process for filling these vacancies once the elections have passed. The process is the same as the procedure to fill a vacancy for a council member who leaves their position in the middle of their term (this is discussed in Article VIII).
Article VIII: Resignations, Removal, and Vacant Seats
- Article XI (Removal of NC Officer from Council) was used in order to create this new Article.
- The procedure for council member resignation was specified.
- A reference to the AJET Agreement was added. This document will be included in an Appendix.
- The fraction of the constituency required to sign a petition for a council member’s removal has been decreased from one third (⅓) to one fifth (⅕). The fraction of the constituency required to overturn a unanimous vote by the AJET National Council to remove a council member from office was decreased from three fourths (¾) to two fifths (⅖). These numbers were chosen in order to be a significant amount, yet still a realistic number to achieve. They are considered realistic based on data from AJET member participation in surveys and elections over the last several years.
Article IX: Affiliated Groups
- Articles VII (Prefectural Chapters, Blocks, SIGs, NGs and LGs) and VIII (New Groups) from the current constitution have been combined in the new Article IX for ease of reference.
- Article VIII of the current constitution was revised to introduce Article IX of the proposed constitution. It was decided that this introduction best served to establish the rules for proposing and forming new affiliated AJET groups, before continuing on to address existing affiliated groups in the proposed revision. Additionally, the process for creating new affiliated groups has been simplified to a council vote. AJET wants to encourage members to form Special Interest Groups and does not want to limit the size of these groups by requiring a certain amount of support on a petition.
- Changes were made for brevity, language and grammar to make it consistent throughout the document (e.g., acronyms were removed and clarified). On recommendation of the previous council’s proposed revisions, some sections in the current constitution Article VII were combined into the singular umbrella of Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Also on recommendation of the previous council, Section 5 of the current constitution, regarding publications, was removed, as publications has become a permanent part of AJET activity and the appointed position of the AJET Online Publications Editor now oversees these activities. Otherwise, content in the proposed Article IX introduction remained the same.
- Section 1 of proposed Article IX and the current constitution’s Article VII refer to prefectural chapters. Revisions were made to organise the content for readability and consistency throughout the document. The subsection regarding Prefectural Representative was removed as this position does not exist. Instead, the proposed revision amended this subsection to encompass all elected officer positions within an affiliated prefectural chapter.
- Section 2 of proposed Article IX and the current constitution’s Article VII refer to Special Interest Groups (SIGs). The section was amended to state the specific interests such groups may address (e.g., nationality, language, religion and sports). This also encompassed those groups represented by the separate Sections 3 and 4 of Article VII in the current constitution. It was decided to combine these as rules for these SIGs’ creation and operation as affiliated groups remain the same regardless of interest. Also, Section 5 of the current constitution was removed as publications is no longer a SIG but has become a permanent feature of AJET activity and a separate appointed position has been created to oversee this function. It was also decided to include that SIGs will be advised by a member of the AJET National Council, as this position exists on the council. The section was reorganised for readability and logic. These reorganisations are now listed in the subsections a through f.
- Section 3 of the proposed Article IX replaces Section 6 of the current constitution’s Article VII, referring to the Peer Support Group (PSG). The section was amended only to reorganise the duties and responsibilities of PSG in the listed subsections for readability purposes. The content between the proposed revised section and the current section remains the same.
Article X: Bylaws
- The content of proposed Article X and the current constitution’s Article XII (Bylaws) are the same.
Article XI: Amendments to the Constitution
- The number of AJET members required to sign a petition for an amendment to the constitution has been decreased from 20% or 500 signatures (whichever is less) to 5% or 250 signatures (whichever is less). These numbers were chosen in order to be a significant amount, yet still a realistic number to achieve. They are considered realistic based on data from AJET member participation in surveys and elections over the last several years.
- It is now specified that online voting should be used instead of postal ballots.
- It is now specified that the amendment must be posted in full on the ballot during votes to pass a new amendment.
- The percentage of AJET members needed to participate in order to make an amendment vote valid has been decreased from 20% to 10% in order to reflect more realistic participation numbers.
- References to the AAJ newsletter and National AJET list serve, which no longer exist, have been updated to the AJET website, Connect magazine, and social media, which are the current and most efficient methods of information distribution for AJET.
- Since the Annual General Meeting (AGM) is no longer in existence, this has been removed from the process of amendment approval.
Please note the changes to Article XI do not affect the amendment process which we’re currently going through.
These constitutional amendments are being enacted by the process described in the current constitution, Article XIII.3, as quoted below:
3. An amendment may be approved by the NC with a three-fourths (3/4) majority of the NC with the general membership being informed at least three (3) weeks prior to the proposed amendment going into effect. The membership must be informed by the publication of the proposed amendment in the “AAJ” national newsletter and via the “National AJET” list serve. If there is a ballot, of at least one hundred (100) members of the AJET membership that oppose the amendment, then the amendment must be voted on by the general membership at the next AGM for it to go into effect. (Current Constitution)
The amendments proposed were announced via the AJET e:Connect email list (the current National AJET listserv) and via the National AJET Block Facebook groups (the current way of distributing timely, pertinent JET news used in substitute of the AJET Across Japan (AAJ) newsletter) on March 12, 2013. Voting members have until April 1, 2013 to oppose the amendments by signing a petition and submitting it via email to the current Vice Chair, Sarah Lewis, at email@example.com. If there is a successful petition, the amendments will be voted on by all current voting members of AJET via an online ballot in lieu of the defunct Annual General Meeting. This will allow all members a chance to cast a vote.
We hope that you’ll agree that the above mentioned changes are beneficial to the future continuation of AJET and the AJET National Council. If you have any questions (or if you spot a change that we forgot to include on this list), please email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for taking an active interest in National AJET!
The March AJET Connect is ready to download!
|Download the Issue Here!
March 2013 issue of AJET Connect (7.9MB PDF)
Thank you to everyone who voted in our recent elections, and congratulations to the newly elected 2013-2014 National Council!
Kay Makishi, Chair
Martin Barry, Vice Chair
Alan Inkster, Treasurer
Regional Block Representatives:
Xan Wetherall, Block 2
Sarah Stout, Block 4
Thomas Wanebo, Block 5
Sandy Cheng, Block 6
Julia Mace, Block 8
Michelle Castro, Block 9
Penny Fox, Block 10
Tamara Rytter, Block 11
*A special election will be held for the Block 3 Representative position from March 11th to March 15th. If you live in Gunma, Ibaraki, Nagano, Tochigi, or Saitama, please stay tuned to vote in that election! If you are interested in serving as Block 1 or Block 7 Representative, please contact the Elections Committee at email@example.com.
Applications for the council’s appointed positions are due on March 11th. You can find more information about those here: http://ajet.net/ajet-elections/appointed-positions/
Best of luck to the new council as they begin their work preparing for our council changeover in late May.
Hey guys, if you haven’t checked it out already, we have loads of links to help you in your teaching endeavors. We just added a lot more.
Click the link below to check them out and let us know if you have any good sites you’d like us to add to the list.
Voting has ceased.
Please read the platforms before you vote. Voting is open ONLY to current JET programme participants. You need to provide your full name and JET number when you begin. Your IP address will be logged when you vote so only one vote may be cast per computer. Please keep this in mind if you share your computer with another JET. Choose carefully when you are voting as you can not change your response once you submit a page. Thank you for participating! Any questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The January / February AJET Connect is ready to download!
|Download the Issue Here!
January / February 2013 issue of AJET Connect (6.6MB PDF)
Looking for a Professional Challenge?
National AJET will be holding elections for the 2013-2014 JET year.
Applicants should be current JETs who are reliable, have excellent time management skills, and are re-contracting for the 2013-2014 JET year. Those wishing to run for an elected position should contact the current holder of your desired position and submit a platform to email@example.com by February 11, 2013. Candidates for appointed positions must submit their materials by March 11, 2013.
Elections for the 2013-2014 AJET National Council will be held online from February 15th- March 1st, 2013.
Please send an email to the election committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
On December 3rd and 4th, the Winter 2012 Opinion Exchange meeting was held in Tokyo. This is a biannual meeting between National AJET, the Council for Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR), the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The discussion topics reported and presented at this meeting were: the Utilisation of Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) in the Workplace, JET Programme Participants’ Relationships with Their Contracting Organisations, and Volunteering on the JET Programme.
Utilisation of ALTs in the Workplace
This report surveyed the current utilization of ALTs in elementary, junior high, and senior high schools, in order to identify trends in the team-teaching structure at all school levels, common contributions and barriers to various workplace involvement, and other important trends related to the changing role of the ALT in the classroom. You can read the report here and the discussion summary here.
JET Programme Participants’ Relationships with Their Contracting Organisations
Contracting organisations, as employers, play a defining role in JET participants’ personal and professional experiences. As such, this report studied current participants’ interactions with their contracting organisations in order to define a more productive working relationship built on successful mutual expectations, support, and communication practices. You can read the report here and the discussion summary here.
Volunteering on the JET Programme
Based on current and past JET participants’ experiences, this report sought to provide a clearer understanding of the kinds of volunteering activities in which participants engage. The report established that volunteering is widely practiced activity among the JET community, both in Japan and abroad, and its continued support and promotion further develops the internationalisation aim of the Programme. You can read the report here and the discussion summary here.
In addition to the presentation and discussion of the above reports, there was also a time set aside for open discussion regarding the current and future state of the JET Programme. In this discussion the following conclusions were reached:
- CLAIR asked National AJET for aspects of the JET Programme and its participants which make it unique and appealing to contracting organisations; National AJET acknowledged the value of international exchange, community involvement, selection processes and criteria, and JET participants’ direct involvement in their workplaces and communities which has become a part of the JET Programme and its reputation and recommended that CLAIR emphasize these benefits to contracting organisations.
- MEXT and National AJET discussed ways in which National AJET could be more involved in future education projects designed for ALTs as these endeavours would be a great benefit for all ALTs at job trainings and seminars as well as in the workplace.
- Regarding future improvements of the JET Programme, CLAIR reiterated their interest in improving and increasing completion rates for the CLAIR TEFL Grant programme, as well as the language courses, and would like to consider ways for addressing these issues in the future. National AJET agreed to provide these responses and assessments on behalf of JETs and extended the invitation to continue this dialogue throughout the year.
- Materials at Tokyo Orientation were also discussed, with CLAIR stating an interest in National AJET’s suggestion for making these materials, including presentations notes, videos or slides, more available after orientation in a format online or in other media.
- With regards to the future AJET report topic on the role of CIRs in the programme, CLAIR requested information on how CIRs are being progressively utilised in different and inventive ways, with the aim of providing information to contracting organisations regarding the benefits, work, and integration of CIRs in local communities and workplaces. National AJET will take these points into consideration for the next Opinion Exchange meeting.
- On a final note, CLAIR asked National AJET for assistance in reminding participants of the importance in adhering to national laws and local regulations regarding behaviours and actions both in the workplace and in personal life, particularly with regards to the possession and/or use of illegal or controlled substances. Such actions have serious consequences not only for the individual who fails to observe the law or these regulations, but also have far wider reaching consequences which damage the reputation of the JET Programme and that of the JET participant’s home country. It is important that all JET participants do their part and abide by these laws and regulations at all times.