The JET Programme is in Trouble

It appears that the JET Programme is in trouble.

The JET Programme, which took me to Japan for 3 years (2 on JET, and one year working for the Compulsory Education Division of the Board of Education in Gunma), is a valuable program that gives Japan vital exposure to international people from a large number of countries.  It also contributes to the spoken proficiency of English within Japan.  Since Japan is a very homogeneous society and has been consistently ranked low in world rankings of English proficiency, both of these contributions are of vital importance.

However, as part of a larger government initiative to cut wasteful government spending, this program has been flagged as one for consideration of elimination.

You can read a good article on the current situation here: JET ROI: JET Program on the Chopping Block by James Gannon

The petition link also provides information on how to reach out to the government.  Of course, every little bit helps, but I believe that we will have the most success in saving the program if we can get Japanese people to reach out to the government and tell them how important they think the program is.  If you know anyone within Japan who has benefited from the program please reach out to them!  You can pass on this link for the ruling in Japanese.

You can also sign this petition in support of the JET Programme at change.org.

Here is the except for the petition description, which sums of this issue quite succintly:

As part of Japan’s efforts to grapple with its massive public debt, the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Program may be cut. Soon after coming into power, the new  government launched a high profile effort to expose and cut wasteful spending. In May 2010, the JET Program and CLAIR came up for review, and during the course of an hourlong hearing, the 11-member panel criticized JET, ruling unanimously that a comprehensive examination should be undertaken to see if it should be pared back or eliminated altogether.  The number of JET participants has already been cut back by almost 30 percent from the peak in 2002, but this is the most direct threat that the program has faced in its 23-year history.

I will now be using this block to track and speak out about this issue.  If you have any additional information about the current situation please comment here (in English or Japanese).

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