GLOSSARY AND TERMINOLOGY
Like all worthy organisations, acronyms and terminology abound. Confused? We got you covered.
Association of Japan Exchange and Teaching (AJET)
AJET is an all-volunteer support network for current participants in the Programme, providing services such as counseling, coordination of information and communications, and serving as the voice of JETs in discussions with CLAIR and the three ministries. It has a national-level body, National AJET (described below), with semi-autonomous prefecture groups that are consolidated into blocks headed by representatives who participate in NAJET.
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
Most if not all chapters hold an AGM once a year to attend to chapter business such as electing their officers and discussing activities and budgets for the coming year. The term is not used in relation to the national or international level.
This term can apply to boards of advisors or directors, but in some chapters is used to refer to the chapter officers as a group. For example, JETAA International has a Board of Advisors (selected by the Chair), JETAA New York has a Board of Directors (elected by the members and which then selects the chapter officers), and JETAA Rocky Mountain uses the term to refer to its elected officers. Consequently, the term “board” can sometimes refer to vastly different entities and people should keep this in mind when using it.
Board of Advisors (BoA)
JETAA International 2.0, officially operating since 2016, includes a Board of Advisors to assist the Chair and Vice Chair (and Webmaster) in their efforts and to provide continuity and institutional memory to the organization. The Chair and VC can serve up to two one-year terms, so rotate fairly often, and Country Representatives also often change frequently, on top of usually not being very well acquainted with the details of JETAA-I or the international community. Board members may serve up to five years. The Webmaster is appointed, with no term limit, and is the only other member of the core team who may retain their position for several years. Members are selected by the Chair in consultation with the Vice Chair, current Board members, and the Executive Committee.
Over the years, the annual Canada National Conference has come to be known as CanCon and is usually referred to this way except in official circumstances.
Chapter officers are usually members who have been selected in some way, whether through election or appointment by a board (as in the case of JETAANY), to fill fundamental roles with important responsibilities such as president, vice- or co-president, secretary, treasurer, membership coordinator, etc. The term is not absolutely defined, however.
Chapter Representative / Chapter Rep (CR / ChR)
The term “Chapter Representative” is used widely in bylaws and other documents concerning JETAA, but its exact definition has been left intentionally vague to allow for the broad range of positions and titles employed by chapters around the world in their various governance structures. It can be commonly considered to include anyone who is or was in a position of responsibility, selected through some process, whether they held a traditional officer position such as president, treasurer, etc., or some other function. Ideally, however, they have represented the chapter at a national conference or other outside meeting and therefore have experience beyond internal chapter matters.
Contracting Organization (CO)
JETs are not, in fact, employed by the JET Programme. They are employed by (having signed contracts with) prefectures, local governments, boards of education, or (in rare cases) other bodies. These are known as “contracting organizations” (「契約団体」).
Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR)
The quasi-government office affiliated with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications that helps implement the JET Program and, along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, supports the JET alumni. CLAIR has a larger mission, in fact, of which JET/AA is just one part: Supporting prefecture and local governments in areas such as internationalization and the adoption and creation of best practices in public administration.
Country Representative / Country Rep (CR / CoR)
Country Reps are alumni who have been selected by the members or chapters in their home country to fulfill various national-level roles. This selection may be done by election or some other system, but should be in some form the result of member input through a fair and open process. Different countries view the roles & responsibilities of the position differently, though these may include some combination of information provision and / or coordination, support for members and / or chapters in their activities, serving as the primary point of contact for CLAIR, MOFA, or other outside entities, and representing the country on the Executive Committee of JETAA-I.
Executive Committee (EC)
This is the group in JETAA-I consisting of all member Country Representatives. The EC, through its members, provides information to JETAA-I on the member countries and chapters while also providing information to those countries and chapters on JETAA-I and the international community. The EC also conducts oversight of the Executive Officers, Webmaster, and BoA, and is the decision-making body for the chapters in matters affecting the international community.
Friend(s) of JET (FOJ / FoJ)
People active in JETAA activities who were not themselves participants in the JET Program. It can refer to spouses of JETs, people who have supported the Program by participating in activities such as the recruiting or interview process, or simply people with an interest in Japan.
Funding provided by CLAIR to the chapters to help support their activities. In North America, at least, also provided to the Country Reps and to national and regional conferences.
Japan Exchange and Teaching Alumni Association (JETAA)
JETAA most commonly refers to the organized alumni community in general and is, as such, a fairly broad and vague term and could include various elements such as chapters, national organizations, and / or JETAA-I.
An acronym not widely used that basically means “the JET Program and / or JET Alumni Association.”.
Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET Programme / JET) (Also known by the American spelling, JET Program)
Launched in 1987, the JET Programme brings young people from around the world to teach English and other subjects in Japanese public schools. The vast majority of JETs are Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs), who help teach English in primary and secondary schools. Many other JETs are Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs), who help with translation, interpretation, and international relations efforts. A smaller number of JETs are Sports Exchange Advisors (SEAs), who teach sports. Most JETs from non-English-speaking countries are SEAs.
Japan Local Government Center (JLGC)
Some but not all of CLAIR’s overseas offices are called Japan Local Government Center (New York, London, etc.). Why the offices were not simply called “CLAIR _____” is not definitely known, but may have been considered a more self-explanatory name.
JET Alumni Association International / JETAA International (JETAA-I / JETAAi)
JETAA International comprises the global community of former participants in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme and their JET Alumni Association chapters. JETAA-I exists to support chapters and individual alumni by providing information and services, as well as by serving as a central point of contact for anyone wishing to learn about or engage with the alumni. It is governed by an Executive Committee, consisting of all member Country Reps, with a Chair, Vice Chair, Webmaster, and Board of Advisors.
JETAA USA / USJETAA
These are two different organizations:
JETAA USA is an autonomous, entirely volunteer-run national organization comprised of the 19 US chapters and the three Country Representatives they elect. It is funded largely by the Japanese government. The three Country Reps have a limited mandate to speak and make decisions on behalf of the US alumni.
USJETAA is a national nonprofit umbrella organization that supports the US-Japan relationship through supporting alumni and their chapters in the United States. USJETAA is separate from and complementary to JETAA USA, and is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit, run by a paid Executive Director with a Board of Directors, and receives funding through grants, donations, and membership dues. USJETAA provides funding, guidance, and programming assistance to chapters, along with cooperating on alumni outreach and other chapter support activities. One US Country Rep sits on the USJETAA Board. USJETAA can enter into agreements on its own behalf, but not on behalf of the alumni or their chapters.
JETAA USA is a member of JETAA-I. USJETAA is not.
These are basically kenjinkai for JETs, which exist as Facebook groups. The idea is to have one KJK for each prefecture that will serve as a central point for current and former JETs along with other stakeholders from prefecture and even local contracting organizations to share information and keep in touch with each other.
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)
In the context of the JET Programme, this ministry primarily is responsible for overseeing the pedagogical aspect of a JET’s life in Japan, handling the policies and procedures for teaching English in Japanese schools.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)
This ministry is primarily responsible for publicizing the JET Programme and for handling the hiring process. In recent years, CLAIR has provided extra support for these efforts. MOFA and CLAIR partner in providing support for JET alumni.
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC)
This ministry oversees CLAIR, and as the central ministry in charge of prefecture and local governments it works with them to implement financial and statutory aspects of the Programme.
National AJET (NAJET)
The national-level body of AJET has a 20-member National Council, including a Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Block Reps, and other officers, chosen by current JETs across the country. NAJET both coordinates services to JETs in Japan and works on their behalf with outside organizations such as the Japanese government and the JET alumni network around the world.
In recent years, the JETAA USA National Conference has come to be commonly (within the North American JETAA chapters) known as NatCon (see CanCon, above).
Officers: Chair & Vice Chair (C / VC)
The JETAA-I Officers are elected every year and are eligible to serve up to two terms in any one position. They are responsible for overseeing the internal affairs and projects of JETAA-I, appointing and overseeing the work of the Webmaster and Board of Advisors and serving as the interface between JETAA-I and outside organizations such as CLAIR. They are elected by the Executive Committee and are answerable to that body.
Prefectural Advisor (PA)
Each prefecture has at least one JET and one Japanese PA, who act as central points of contact for all of the JETs in that prefecture and their contracting organizations. PAs work to ensure the safety and well-being of JETs, help provide guidance and advice based on rules and protocols, run orientations, training seminars and other events for JETs, and usually serve as the first resource for JETs who are having difficulties, beyond their contracting organisations.
Program Coordinator (PC)
CLAIR Tokyo employs a number of former CIRs to help oversee their various programs, including JET and the JET alumni.
Regional Conference (RegCon)
The term “regional conference” signifies different things in different circumstances. In some cases, such as in North America, a regional conference is one that is, at least in principle, smaller in scale than a national conference, and usually is focused on either a particular geographic region or a particular topic, such as an “Eastern Regional Conference” or a “Tech Regional Conference”. These conferences, however, are also open to alumni in both the US and Canada. In other places it indicates a gathering of more than one country, in a larger geographical region, such as the Oceania Regional Conference held annually by Australia and New Zealand. The label "RegCon" is only used among North American chapters.
Special Interest Group (SIG)
A group focused on a specific topic of interest to current and former JETs that provide a community for discussion and sometimes action. Primarily used by AJET, but applicable to alumni activities as well.