Spring 2013 OE: AJET General Activities Report; Discussion Summary

This is a summary of the Spring 2013 Opinion Exchange 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 following is a summary of the discussion regarding the report, ‘AJET National Council 2013 General Activities’. To access the full report, please click here.

AJET National Council 2013 General Activities
Written by Mark Noizumi, Sally Wals, Hal Edmonson, Mary Margaret Gilliam, Sarah Lewis, Joe Moore and Sabbi Topal
Presented by Mark Noizumi, Interpreted by Sally Wals

Following the presentation of this report, the AJET National Council discussed several points with the Ministries and CLAIR regarding the role of the JET Programme and its future in promoting international exchange. In this discussion, it was understood that MEXT is currently working on a revision of the Team Teaching Handbook and anticipates uploading the revised document to their website in time for the summer orientation session in July 2013. MEXT is revising content and also intends to add a comprehension test at the end of each chapter; as such, MEXT may be in touch with AJET to assist in the review of these materials. MEXT is also interested to hear about resources that AJET has to offer that may be able to be included as part of the revised Team Teaching Handbook and online resources.

AJET would like to develop direct communication channels with the Ministries if possible. The Ministries indicated that they may be interested in such collaboration with the AJET National Council through council liaisons in the future. AJET will follow up with the Ministries in more detail with regard to this initiative. Additionally, CLAIR stated that they will consider developing a method through which AJET can connect with contracting organisations. Furthermore, MOFA indicated that there may be an opportunity to include an information sheet about AJET when sending out the General Information Handbook (GIH) to JET participants prior to their arrival to Japan or, alternatively, having local authorities send out the information to new participants prior to arrival. AJET will work with MOFA to further develop this idea.

Finally, with regards to disaster relief and preparedness, and in light of the Great East Japan Earthquake, CLAIR has developed a Business Continuance Plan (BCP) which includes a safety confirmation system to verify the status of JET participants in the event of a similar disaster. The system would be an over-arching supplement to current local practices wherein participants contact their contracting organisations, workplaces or supervisors. While this may be useful in cases where current contact methods fail, AJET expressed a concern that an additional system may be confusing for participants and lead to more work for prefectural advisors. Nevertheless, AJET acknowledges that developing new and better systems to respond to natural disasters is a priority for CLAIR and welcomes the chance to work together towards an ideal solution.