About Us

The Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching (AJET) is a volunteer organisation of JET Programme participants. AJET serves the JET community by building support networks, organising useful information, and offering resources to enhance the lives of the Programme participants in Japan and abroad. It maintains a counselling service and an online magazine, and voices the opinions and concerns of JETs to CLAIR and the Japanese government ministries that manage the JET Programme. AJET has existed since the inception of the JET Programme; at the national level, it is headed by the AJET National Council, a body of twenty elected and appointed current JETs from across Japan. For more information about AJET, please refer to the FAQs below.

Constitution of the Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching

Article I: Name

This organisation shall be known as the Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching (AJET), hereafter referred to as AJET. The organisation will be known as JET プログラム参加者の会 (JET puroguramu sankashanokai) in Japanese.

Article II: Purpose

The Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching (AJET) is a volunteer organisation affiliated with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. The purpose of AJET is to foster a successful working relationship between JET Programme sponsors and JET Programme participants. AJET promotes community and peer fellowship, provides support and resources, and acts as the representative body of JET participants.

Article III: Membership

The membership of AJET shall consist of all current participants of the JET Programme.

Article IV: The AJET National Council

The AJET National Council shall be known as AJET 役員会 (AJET yakuinkai) in Japanese. The AJET National Council shall represent the members of AJET to the JET Programme’s administering bodies, AJET’s partners and other parties. The AJET Council shall consist of the Executive Officers, Block Representatives, Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) Representative and Appointed Officers. Each elected member shall have one (1) vote; however, the Chair shall only vote in the case of a tie. The AJET National Council shall be the chief policy-making body for the administration of AJET and any policies should be consistent with the Constitution of AJET. In addition, the Council shall represent JET Programme participants, define the privileges of AJET membership, and establish policies concerning the formation and management of various interest groups within AJET. These groups should operate in a manner consistent with the purposes of AJET. The AJET National Council may also establish committees as deemed necessary.

Article V: Officers and Executive Officers

Section 1
AJET shall have two distinct types of officers:

  1. Officers of the AJET National Council. These consist of:
    1. Executive Officers (voting)
    2. Block Representatives (voting)
    3. Appointed Officers (non-voting)
  2. Officers of groups affiliated with AJET. These consist of:
    1. Prefectural Chapter Representatives
    2. Representatives of other affiliated groups (as defined in the Bylaws)

Section 2
The Executive Officers shall be the Chair, Vice Chair, and the Treasurer. Executive Officers shall oversee the operation of the AJET National Council, making decisions between AJET National Council meetings that are consistent with the Constitution and Bylaws of AJET. Executive Officers shall recommend policies to and coordinate the agendas of the AJET National Council. Executive Officers shall have various other duties and responsibilities as outlined in the Bylaws. Decisions made by Executive Officers on behalf of the Council are subject to review by the AJET National Council.

Section 3
The Chair, Vice Chair, and the Treasurer shall be elected by the national membership of AJET.

Section 4
Each Block Representative shall be elected from within his or her block and will be the representative of that block on the AJET National Council.

Section 5
The CIR Representative will be elected from all the CIR members from the JET Programme and will be the representative of CIRs on the AJET National Council.

Section 6
Appointed Officers shall be appointed for a one-year term, unless otherwise specified in the Bylaws, to perform specific tasks as set out by the AJET National Council.

  1. Appointed Officers shall be nominated by the Executive Officers and approved by the
    voting members of the AJET National Council with a majority vote (over 50%).
  2. Appointed Officers will have titles, duties and responsibilities defined in the Bylaws.
  3. New positions may be created and new appointments made based on the needs of AJET.

Section 7
The term of office for all elected AJET National Council Officers shall be one (1) year from June 1st until May 31st.

Article VI: Meetings

Section 1
The AJET National Council shall hold meetings in person and through conference calls. Group discussions and voting may also be held via email. The procedure for meetings shall be established by the Executive Officers in conjunction with the AJET National Council.

Section 2
The AJET National Council shall have at least two (2) in-person meetings per year.

Section 3
The AJET National Council shall have meetings with representatives from the Japanese government bodies which administer the JET Programme.

Section 4
The AJET National Council shall achieve a quorum when at least one (1) Executive Officer and at least two-thirds (2/3) of the National Council are present.

Section 5
When organising a meeting, two (2) days notice is required, unless two-thirds (2/3) of the AJET National Council votes in favour of waiving this notice.

Article VII: Elections

Section 1
The AJET National Council shall hold annual elections for the elected positions of the AJET National Council. These elections are to conclude no later than April first (1st), but may conclude earlier.

The Vice Chair shall be the Elections Officer. The Vice Chair shall establish an Election Committee with the approval of the AJET National Council. The Election Committee will assist in the counting of ballots and the establishment of the election process. In the event that the Vice Chair intends to run in the elections, an Elections Officer shall be appointed by the AJET National Council. Members of the Election Committee may not run for office. The Election Committee shall determine various other election rules including the date of elections, in conjunction with and subject to the AJET Constitution and Bylaws.

Voting for the elected positions of the AJET National Council shall be conducted online by the Elections Officer and Website Administrator. The Elections Officer and Website Administrator must keep any private information they receive confidential.

Section 2
In the event of a council vacancy after the election, the Executive Officers shall appoint an appropriate person from the membership of AJET. This member must be approved by a majority vote (more than 50%) of the voting members of the AJET National Council.

Article VIII: Resignations, Removal, and Vacant Seats

Section 1
An AJET National Council member who wishes to resign from the AJET National Council may
do so by submitting his or her resignation in writing, by letter or e-mail, to the Executive Officers.

Section 2
An AJET National Council member that is found to be delinquent in his or her duties may be
removed from the AJET National Council. Should they have been found to be in breach of their AJET Agreement (see Appendix A) or have failed to uphold their duties as an AJET National Council member as stated in the AJET Constitution and Bylaws, the AJET National Council member may be brought up for review if any of the following has occurred:

  1. They have been warned twice in writing, via letter or email by the Executive Officers.
  2. A motion has been brought against them by at least one Executive Officer.
  3. A petition has been signed by at least one-fifth (1/5) of the AJET membership in that
    person’s constituency.

For a review to take place, the person in question must be notified of the action two (2) weeks in advance by registered mail. Notification may also take place by email, provided the council member confirms receipt of the message. The council member must be given the opportunity to address these concerns with the AJET National Council, including at least two Executive Officers. They may then be removed by:

  1. A unanimous vote by the voting members of the AJET National Council, except for the
    person under review. Abstentions will not count as negative votes. This may be
    overturned by a signed petition of at least two-fifths (2/5) of that member’s constituency.
  2. A petition of at least two-fifths (2/5) of all AJET members in that person’s constituency.

Section 3
The Executive Officers shall appoint an appropriate person from the membership of AJET to replace the departing Council member for the remainder of the AJET year. This member must be approved by a vote of more than fifty percent (50%) of the voting members of the AJET National Council.

Section 4
The procedure in Section 3 also applies in the event that a seat on the Council is vacant for reasons other than resignation or removal.

Article IX: Affiliated Groups

Affiliated groups must be approved by the AJET National Council. A petition must be submitted to the AJET National Council. This may contain a list of officers, expected membership fees, and any other information the AJET National Council may deem necessary as outlined below.

The AJET National Council can approve the formation of a new group by a two thirds (2/3) vote of the AJET National Council.

Upon approval, all groups are then subject to the rules and regulations of the AJET Constitution and Bylaws as well as their own Operating Regulations, Mission Statement, Constitution, and/or Bylaws.

Section 1
AJET Prefectural Chapters are semi-autonomous groups whose boundaries are consistent with the established prefectures of Japan. The purpose of an AJET Prefectural Chapter shall be to pursue locally the needs and interests of AJET members consistent with the purpose of AJET. Each AJET Prefectural Chapter shall cooperate with the AJET National Council in meeting the needs of AJET members.

  1. AJET members in each prefecture are entitled to join their respective AJET
    Prefectural Chapter.
  2. Each prefecture shall have only one (1) AJET Prefectural Chapter.
  3. AJET Prefectural Chapters shall adopt and abide by an AJET Prefectural Chapter
    Constitution and Bylaws.
  4. AJET Prefectural Chapters shall elect officers. The positions and terms of office shall be determined by the AJET Prefectural Chapter Constitution and Bylaws.

Section 2
Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are semi-autonomous groups within AJET which address specific areas of interest including but not limited to nationality, language, religion, and sports. The SIGs will be advised by a specified member of the AJET National Council. SIGs shall adopt and abide by a Mission Statement and Operating Regulations consistent with and subject to the AJET Constitution and Bylaws.

  1. Each SIG shall be open to all AJET members.
  2. Each SIG shall elect a SIG Coordinator.
  3. The criteria for the creation of SIGs shall be determined by the AJET National Council.
  4. The Mission Statement and Operating Regulations shall be subject to annual review
    and approval by the AJET National Council.
  5. SIGs shall submit an Annual Report to the AJET National Council by March 31st
    each year. The Annual Report should include accomplishments from the previous year
    along with a schedule of activities and/or goals for the upcoming year.

    1. The Annual Report is subject to approval of the AJET National Council.
    2. If the Annual Report is not approved, the SIG will be dissolved.
  6. SIGs shall be allowed to charge a reasonable fee, determined annually by the
    members of the SIG according to their Operating Regulations. This will be subject to the
    approval of the AJET National Council.

Section 3
The Peer Support Group (PSG) is an autonomous group sponsored by AJET. The PSG shall adopt and abide by a Mission Statement and Operating Regulations consistent with the AJET Constitution and Bylaws. This group shall support JET Programme participants in a manner consistent with the PSG Mission Statement, Operating Regulations, and the AJET Constitution and Bylaws.

  1. The PSG shall elect a PSG Coordinator.
  2. The PSG will select and train volunteers.
  3. Funding of this group will be provisional upon evaluation by the AJET National
    Council of the service’s current needs and availability of funds.
  4. The Mission Statement and Operating Regulations shall be subject to annual review
    and approval by the AJET Council.
  5. The PSG shall submit an Annual Report including a budget and schedule of activities
    for the upcoming year to the AJET National Council by March 31st each year.

    1. The Annual Report is subject to the approval of the AJET National Council.
    2. If the Annual Report is not approved by the AJET National Council, the
      relationship between PSG and the AJET National Council may be dissolved.

Article X: Bylaws

The AJET National Council shall create Bylaws for this Constitution for the administration of AJET. To go into effect, a Bylaw shall be proposed through a motion put forth by an Executive Officer and approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the voting members of the AJET National Council.

Article XI: Amendments to the Constitution

Section 1
Amendments to this Constitution may be proposed to the membership of AJET if the
amendment:

  1. Has been put forth to the AJET National Council in a motion by an Executive Officer
    and approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the voting members of the AJET National
    Council; or
  2. Has been submitted to the Chair in a petition signed by at least five percent (5%) or
    two hundred and fifty (250) of the membership of AJET, whichever is less.

Section 2
To be ratified, any proposed amendments must be posted in full with the ballot and approved by two-thirds (2/3) of the votes received in an online ballot of the AJET membership, provided at least ten percent (10%) of the membership votes.

Section 3
If the vote of the membership fails to meet quorum, an amendment may be ratified by a three-fourths (3/4) majority of the voting members of the AJET National Council.

The proposed amendments must be posted for (3) weeks for comments prior to the AJET
National Council’s final vote on the proposed amendment. The proposed amendments must be
published in full on the official AJET website, and advertised to the membership on social media and the listserve before the beginning of the three week period.

If there is a petition of at least one hundred (100) members of the AJET membership that oppose the amendment, then the amendment will not be passed.

You can download a PDF version of the constitution here.

AJET FAQs


How did AJET start?

The history of AJET is closely linked to the history of the JET Programme. In the late 1970′s, the Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture (Monbusho) set up the Monbusho English Fellows Program and the British English Teachers Scheme to improve foreign language education in Japan. Each of these two programs had volunteer support groups made up of participants.

In August 1987, when the MEF and BETS programs joined to form the JET Programme, the two volunteer groups also joined to form AJET, and the organisation quickly grew in size and influence. With the purpose of “providing support and assisting CLAIR and the Ministry of Education in responding effectively to a variety of Programme-related problems” (McConnell p. 66), AJET managed in its first year to persuade 80% of JET Programme Participants to pay to join the organisation.

In its early years, AJET grew as both a support and a pressure group and began to pressure the relevant government ministries to enact changes. In these early years, the position of AJET within the JET Programme was uncertain. CLAIR and the government ministries were forced to consider whether to involve AJET in consultations as an ‘insider’, or to keep the organization outside the Programme’s bureaucracy and risk it turning into a full scale pressure group.

By 1988, CLAIR and the government had decided to co-operate with AJET, and introduced the CLAIR-AJET Evaluation Meetings (now called Opinion Exchange). AJET also began to play an active part in the organization of national and local level conferences. At the Tokyo Orientations, AJET organised workshops covering topics not included on the CLAIR and Monbusho curriculum, and an AJET representative was invited to speak at the Opening Ceremonies. AJET also organised Information Fairs and an AJET Bazaar for new participants. From 1988-1999 AJET was also granted an extra day at the Kobe Renewers’ Conference, for all AJET members, in which workshops and the Annual General Meeting could be held, and speakers were invited to address AJET members (funding has since been withdrawn from this event by CLAIR and Host Institutions across Japan).

In recent years, AJET has grown as a support group and it has become less active as a pressure group. AJET began to offer National AJET subscription fees free of charge, so that more JETs can be represented at the national level, and changes can more effectively be enacted.

AJET is once again in flux following changes from CLAIR in 2013, which included deferment of AJET participation in national JET conferences and relegation of the biannual CLAIR-AJET exchanges to an as-needed basis. Yet, AJET is a dynamic and constantly evolving organisation which adapts to the climate of the Programme, and AJET looks forward to creating new ways to build community and serve as a resource for JETs, while continuing its work with CLAIR and the ministries.

 

What does the National Council do?

The AJET National Council works to enhance the lives of JET Programme participants. We also represent your views and concerns to CLAIR and the government ministries that manage the JET Programme. We do so by maintaining a close working relationship with CLAIR throughout the year, highlighted by our face-to-face forums called the AJET-CLAIR-MEXT-MIC-MOFA Opinion Exchange Meeting.

The AJET National Council also coordinates broader AJET activities around Japan, including:

Does the AJET National Council hold its own meetings?

Much of the National Council’s work is done over email and Skype. Council members may have smaller team meetings prior to or following Opinion Exchange meetings.

There is however only one in-person meeting at which every council member is present. Every Spring following the result of the AJET elections, the newly elected AJET council meets with the outgoing council for a Changeover meeting. This meeting allows the newly elected council to work together on mapping out goals for the year and learning more about their positions from outgoing council members.

What is AJET’s role in JET Programme conferences?

AJET has had a long history of working with CLAIR and the two annual JET Programme conferences held at the national level, the After JET Conference for returning JETs and the Tokyo Orientation for new JETs. AJET continues to support incoming and outgoing JETs during these important times by creating an Incoming JETs Facebook group, producing special editions AJET Connect magazine for both conferences, offering resources on its website, among other special initiatives.

Does AJET work for CLAIR?

AJET is a wholly independent volunteer organisation, whose committee members are elected by JETs on an annual basis. AJET works alongside, but independently of, CLAIR to offer JETs the resources, support and community needed to improve their experience on the JET Programme.

When does AJET meet with CLAIR and government ministry officials?

The AJET National Council meets with CLAIR and government ministry officials on an as-needed basis but in recent history have occurred at least twice a year. These meetings usually take place at the CLAIR office in Tokyo. During these meetings, AJET presents reports in English and Japanese on general issues and concerns raised by the JET community or topics specifically requested by CLAIR and the government ministries. We then engage in discussions on these topics with the wider aim of seeking how to improve the JET Programme.

What reports have AJET presented to CLAIR?

Past AJET reports are available online. You can read them here: https://ajet.net/category/downloads/national-ajet-reports.

What are the results of the discussions between AJET, CLAIR and the government ministries?

Many improvements and changes to the JET Programme over the years are a direct result of AJET reports. These have included , changes to the paid and sick leave clauses in the model contract, the banning of smoking in teachers’offices and the introduction of paid study leave.

AJET produces follow-up reports to notify the JET community of the results of the most recent Opinion Exchange meeting. You can find follow-up reports of past opinion exchanges here: https://ajet.net/category/downloads/national-ajet-reports/

How can I raise an issue for discussion at the AJET-CLAIR Opinion Exchange Meeting?

Easy! First, complete the survey! Second, please contact your Block Representative or the Chair via email at any time. A simple email can be all it takes to get your opinion heard. Please be aware that some issues may require a follow up with one of the Council members so that we can have enough information to present at the Opinion Exchange. You can be assured that all personal information remains confidential.

What companies and organisations are affiliated with AJET?

AJET has established relationships with numerous companies and organisations that can be of use for AJET members from the time they arrive in Japan until the time they leave. Most companies offer special deals or discounts to members of AJET. The AJET corporate team works hard to negotiate and then bring these deals to you!

How do I know which AJET block I am in?

To find out which block you are in, please visit https://ajet.net/ajet-blocks/. From there, you can find the contact information for your respective AJET Block Representative.

In a work discrepancy, can AJET intervene on my behalf?

AJET cannot intervene between work discrepancies.

What is the difference between local AJET groups and National AJET?

Although local groups such as Special Interest Groups, Nationality Groups and the Peer Support Group run under the umbrella of National AJET, AJET Prefectural Chapters and these local groups operate on an autonomous level, providing events and information relevant to smaller audiences of JETs and members. Distinct though local AJET groups and National AJET are, together they form a broad support network, working to improve the lives of JETs all over Japan.

What is a Prefectural AJET Chapter?

Almost all prefectures in Japan offer a local AJET group or chapter. Prefectural Chapters organise social and charity events and offer area-specific advice for life in Japan and teaching. Content and frequency of events vary from prefecture to prefecture. For more information about your local chapter click here https://ajet.net/ajet-blocks/.

Some prefectures do not have an active chapter but this does not mean that you cannot work to create your own! National AJET can help any energetic, creative individuals who want to start or revive local chapters. If you are interested in reviving your local chapter, please contact your Block Representative.

How can I contact a member of the National Council?

You can contact the National Council at anytime during the year via email. All email addresses can be found here https://ajet.net/national-council/.

Where can I find the latest information relevant to my life as a JET?

Right here at https://ajet.net! As the primary resource hub offered by AJET, explore the site to find teaching resources, information on upcoming events and volunteering and other useful information. Also, JETs contribute to an AJET-sponsored magazine called AJET Connect which contains articles on various topics such as travel, food and entertainment. AJET Connect also offers useful information on the latest events and volunteering opportunities. Some local AJET groups have newsletters, too. This website is maintained by National AJET, and many local groups have their own websites or maintain email list serves for local JETs.

CLAIR also supplies a regular newsletter, called CLAIR News, which is mailed to all JETs and is also available on the CLAIR website.

How can I get involved in AJET’s work?

There are plenty of opportunities for JETs to get involved in AJET projects without being official representatives. You can do this within your prefecture, or with a Special Interest Group, or even at national level, through a range of charity and other initiatives. Just get in touch with your local AJET rep or Block Representative for advice! We also need people to respond to our surveys, to help with representing JET issues to CLAIR.

People who want to step up to organise AJET projects and help keep things running smoothly from year to year can become official representatives on local or national committees. Some of these will have elections – for example, National AJET’s elections usually occur in February or March. AJET always needs energetic, capable people to run the show – there’s so much to do! If you want to contribute to the JET community in this way, again, get in touch with your local AJET rep or Block Representative. All contact information is available here.

Who can I contact if I am having a problem with my Contracting Organisation?

It is important that you first try to discuss the issue with your local supervisor. If the problem continues, please contact your Prefectural Adviser.

If the problem is work related, please make sure you exhaust all discussions with your local supervisor or JTEs. If this is not satisfactory, contact your Prefectural Adviser.

AJET