Japan’s JET Program Gets a Face-lift: Career Diversification to be Introduced into the Program
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Government plans to update a law prevents foreign staff from engaging in different activities.
In 2017, for the first time in its history, the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program reached 5000 participants. The program was launched over 30 years ago to help promote internationalization and improve foreign language education. Nowadays, it is also a popular way for young people to find their first job in Japan, but the restrictions that come along with the visa status makes it difficult for workers to engage in other activities. The government will revise the regulations of the JET Program to permit its members to work in fields outside of their resident status. The main purpose of the change is to make the most of the skills and potential of foreign employees, as well as to help counterbalance Japan’s labor shortage.
Jobs available through the JET Program
Participants from all over the world can apply for the following positions: Assistant Language Teacher (ALT), Coordinator for International Relations (CIR), or Sports Exchange Advisor (SEA). ALT are mainly placed in public schools, where they are involved in assisting with classes. Persons who were selected as CIR are fluent in the Japanese language and their duties are more related to translation, interpretation, or as support for international affairs. Finally, SEA members help to promote globalization through sports.
Difficulties when attempting to engage in different activities
JET employees may receive three different visa types - ALT will receive a “Japan Instructor” visa, CIR will receive an “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” visa, and SEA fall under the “Skilled Labor” category of visas. The current regulations, in principle, do not allow the holder to perform activities outside the scope of their main occupation. For example, someone with an Instructor visa cannot do work related to marketing or copywriting without an additional permit.
Changes in the law
The new regulations will ease the strict restrictions of the current system, allowing for staff to be used in the most effective and flexible way. Workers will also have an easier time finding jobs in different fields in the future. Experts are calling to include a brand new residence system to cover the particular needs of this group of workers.
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About the Author
Half writer, half reader. Tokyo based and deeply in love with - you can easily find me meandering around Shibuya or Shin-Okubo. Communication and marketing assistant by day, video game localizer by night.