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Are you thinking of starting (or re-starting) a JETAA chapter or subchapter in your area?

JETAA Ireland Japanese garden.jpg

A new chapter or subchapter is a welcome addition to the JETAA community. This section gives an introduction and some guidelines on the formation of chapters and subchapters.

Before you read this guide, you should check first with any nearest existing chapter and/or  the Country Representative for your region. This guide covers situations where a chapter has not yet existed, or if no information is available.


Some regions may have local laws governing the formation of organisations that have links to foreign countries. While rare, it is always good to check if you are in a country where this might apply.

JETAAI does not enforce compliance with requirements or rules. We leave it up to chapters to decide their by-laws and structure, as we recognise that every chapter is tailored to their own unique circumstances. That said, we do have clear rules on official recognition (and removal) of chapters as part of JETAAI.

We are of course happy to help and provide guidance if you need it - get in touch with us at any time.



​There are not many requirements for the formation of a new chapter. For funding however, CLAIR may require proof of viability - see under ‘Financial structure’ below. There is no universal template for chapter setup, and official recognition will require discussion between  representatives of a potential new chapter, JETAAI and CLAIR.

As a guide, the following characteristics are shared by many chapters today: 

  • a committee which has at minimum, the following roles: 

    • Chair or President

    • Secretary and/or Vice President

    • Treasurer

  • chapter by-laws (examples exists online for JETAANY and JETAANSW)

  • membership list, for example a newsletter email list

  • has Annual General Meetings (AGMs) to hold elections for the committee

  • hold regular monthly meetings to discuss business, event planning or news

  • run events that help promote mutual understanding and cultural exchanges between their local community and Japan

  • support and promote the JET Programme, by participating in JET Programme information sessions, running orientation sessions for new JETs, networking and career support or bounenkai events

The main message here is that a new chapter is encouraged to provide evidence of its sustainability and viability (e.g. events), with a strong passionate leadership committee, supported by an existing alumni community.

Financial structure

Depending on circumstances, chapter (and subchapter) funding may be derived from some combination of Japanese government and other own-source revenues. New potential chapters should start with their local CLAIR contacts on this subject.

Chapter activities are supported through yearly budget grants called Grant-in-Aid (GiA), authorised and managed by CLAIR. What is required for this will depend on the CLAIR branch that has jurisdiction over the new chapter’s territory. For example, the following documentation or information may be needed: 

  • chapter by-laws

  • committee member details

  • list of members other than the committee 


Chapters may also apply for funding from their local Japanese consulate or embassy. The application process (schedule, requirements, documentation, etc.) are different from CLAIR GiA funding, and chapters should consult with their diplomatic outpost on how to go about requesting support.


In addition, some chapters conduct fundraising activities to secure own-source revenue. This is encouraged by CLAIR, and does not negatively affect consideration for Japanese government funding. However, chapters should carefully investigate any legal or tax obligations that may arise from this activity and take those into consideration.


Finally, at least in the United States, several chapters function as federally-recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations (JETAANY is one example), giving them special tax status and other benefits. This does require a greater commitment of time, expertise, and attention, and even if this is an option for chapters it is advisable to do a strict cost-benefit analysis before deciding to embark on such an effort. This may not be applicable to most chapters outside the US, however.


A subchapter is a smaller division of a chapter. The reasons for forming a subchapter include: 

  • to service a geographical location outside of the parent chapter’s main area of operation

  • the alumni community is small and will run a limited number of events or activities


Ultimately, what defines a subchapter should be discussed between the parent chapter and representatives of the intended subchapter, as every situation is different. Some examples of subchapter guidelines are:

  • a minimum committee of 2 officers - President/Chair and Secretary/Vice Chair

  • an agreed minimum of organized activity per year will be held by a specified date

  • a registration list of names (for an agreed minimum number of alumni in the area)

  • declared general geographical boundary or region of operation

  • a governing document (e.g. bylaws) containing at a minimum, the mission statement


If the parent chapter agrees to the formation of a subchapter, they may inform CLAIR (for funding) and JETAAI (for formal recognition and help with promotion) of their decision. It is also not a bad idea to document the guidelines agreed upon, for future reference and clarity.


Subchapters have no obligation to become a full chapter, even if they technically fulfill the minimum requirements for chapter formation. But come that time, the section listed above under ‘Setting up a chapter’ will be useful.

Financial structure

No special requirements exist for parent chapters on applying for subchapter funding, as all activities (whether chapter or subchapter) come from the same source. Parent chapters should of course be mindful of their budget limit, and include their subchapter(s) in the yearly budget discussions. 


While subchapters can be formed at any time, funding will only be approved according to the usual timeline and procedure set in place by CLAIR. This may affect the timeline of your subchapter formation.

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