Oct 14


It’s official. Soumusho (Ministry of Internal Affairs) sees great value in the JET alumni community being organized and identifiable by prefecture and would like to see such groups formed and put to better use. This according to an announcement that came through the official bureaucratic news source (iJAMP). (See very unofficial translation summary below.)

Why do they care so much about this idea? Because the local governments (i.e., the prefectures) need to see the long term benefits of JET to really make it worth it for them to continue to hire JETs and to contribute funding and resources to the program. They need to see that JET alumni are supporting and contributing to longer term economic benefits in various ways. This is the concept of Local Return on JET-vestment.

Fortunately, JET alum groups by prefecture have existed for the past year thanks to LinkedIn. And many have already joined. If you have not joined one yet, I strongly encourage you to do so now. (It also couldn’t hurt to join any of the various professional JET alum LinkedIn groups as well. Or start a new one yourself if you see a field not covered.)

Here’s the unofficial translation summaries of the official communication:

Soumusho has called on the prefectures to promote the creation of JET OB networks as a resource in their internationalization and overseas business initiatives.

To encourage this, Soumusho is allowing prefectures from this year to fund travel and other expenses for alumni out of their local allocation tax revenues, and is asking prefectures to work with municipal governments.

It is further hoped that these alumni will be a source of accurate information on Japan. And there have been many instances where alumni have gotten involved in fundraising and other support for the affected areas through their deep connections to their communities in Japan.

While there have been many groups formed by alumni according to their countries of origin, schools they taught at or years on the Program, there are few instances of groups formed by prefecture and it is difficult to really say that alumni are a resource to these areas. The importance of prefecture alumni groups was pointed out at the 25th anniversary symposium, leading to the call to form prefecture-level networks.

The notice mentioned Tottori as a good example of a prefecture making the best use of its JETs, having its CIRs act as “Tottori Hometown Ambassadors”, submitting policy proposals and contributing articles to its informational magazine. It also uses its “World Tottori Fan Club” to send out information to its ALT alumni.


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