The Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) Programme

JET Programme New Zealand Updates and News

14/12/2020: Applications for the 2021 New Zealand JET Programme Cycle are NOW CLOSED. We invite all interested parties to check back again next year in September for the 2022 New Zealand JET Programme Applications.



JET Programme New Zealand General Information

What is the JET Programme?

The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme, or JET Programme, seeks to enhance internationalisation in Japan by promoting mutual understanding between the people of Japan and those of other nations. The Programme aims to enhance foreign language education and promote international exchange at the local level through the fostering of ties between Japanese youth and foreign youth alike.

The objectives of the Programme are being achieved by offering JET Programme participants the opportunity to serve in local authorities as well as public and private elementary, junior high and senior high schools in Japan. The Programme is implemented by local authorities and other organisations (or Contracting Organisations) who appoint Participants in cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR).

The Programme started in 1987 with cooperation from governments of participating countries. In 2019, there were 5,761 participants on the Programme from 57 countries. As the Programme has achieved an excellent reputation over the last 34 years, it is of great importance that this reputation be maintained. Participants are invited to Japan as honoured representatives of their countries. As such, they are expected to be responsible in all their activities, especially those concerning the promotion of mutual understanding between nations. It is therefore desirable that Participants be adaptable, mentally and physically capable of performing the job duties and have a deep interest in Japan.

Applicants may apply for either the Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) and Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs) position (CIR applicants may be considered for the ALT position if they are deemed suitable for the ALT position and provide consent). The bulk of the Programme (90%) are contracted as as ALTs. The remainder consists of CIRs, or the closed application Sports Exchange Advisor (SEA) positions.

Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) help the Japanese foreign language teachers in class, and assist in preparing teaching materials and class activities. They may assist in English language clubs and other extra-curricular activities. Knowledge of Japanese is not required to be an ALT.

Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs) work in local government offices and are involved in international activities which might include editing publications, translation work, advising on the planning and implementation of exchange programmes, and interpreting at international events. A functional knowledge of written and spoken Japanese is required to be a CIR.

Sports Exchange Advisors (SEAs) promote international exchange activities through certain designated sports. SEAs are generally placed in sporting facilities or boards of education where they assist with sports training. Currently there are only 13 SEAs on the JET Programme, including 3 Field Hockey SEAs from New Zealand. There are no SEA positions available at this time.


For worldwide general information, please read the FAQ on the Official JET Homepage.
For New Zealand-specific information, please read the 2021 JET Programme NZ Guidelines.
For all other information, please contact one of the offices below.

General Enquiries:
Questions relating to the JET Programme in New Zealand are welcome at any of the below Consular and Embassy offices, but all applications must be submitted to the Japan Information & Cultural Centre, Embassy of Japan in Wellington. Please feel free to contact the below offices with any JET Programme queries whatsoever.

Consulate-General of Japan
Level 15, AIG Building
41 Shortland Street
PO Box 3959
Auckland 1140
Attn: JET Officer
Tel: (09) 303-4106
Fax: (09) 377-7784
Japan Information & Cultural Centre
Embassy of Japan
Level 18, The Majestic Centre
100 Willis Street
PO Box 6340
Marion Square
Wellington 6141
Attn: JET Officer
Tel: (04) 495-8333
Consular Office of Japan
(Temporary office)
12 Peterborough Street
Christchurch 8013
Attn: JET Officer
Tel: (03) 366-5680
Fax: (03) 365-3173

2021 JET Programme New Zealand Calendar

Applications for the 2021 JET Programme have CLOSED. The information below is for REFERENCE PURPOSES ONLY and will be updated when applications for the 2022 JET Programme open in September 2021.

Calendar Date

Early Arrivals

September Arrivals

SEA (Pending 2021 Requests)

September 2020 Applications OPEN Applications OPEN  
December-January 2020 First stage of screening process (written applications) First stage of screening process (written applications)  
Late January 2021 Notification of interview Notification of interview Applications open
February-March 2021 Second stage of screening process (interviews), April departure forms submission Second stage of screening process (interviews)  
April 2021 Announcement of status, Notification of successful selection and placement Announcement of status (short-list, reserve or unsuccessful) Applications close, First stage of screening process
June 2021   Notification of successful placement/assignment Second stage of screening process (interviews)
July-August 2021   Pre-departure orientation (COMPULSORY), Submission of passport for visa application Notification of status, selection, and placement
11-12 September 2021   Travel from New Zealand to Japan Travel from New Zealand to Japan
13 September 2021   Start of contract and Tokyo Orientation Start of contract and Tokyo Orientation

: Reserves (Alternates) for the JET Programme can receive notice of being upgraded to shortlist status at any time between June 2021 until the second week of December 2021.


2021 JET Programme New Zealand Presentations

Applications for the 2021 JET Programme have CLOSED. The information below is for REFERENCE PURPOSES ONLY and will be updated when applications for the 2022 JET Programme open in September 2021.

**Due to COVID-19 delays, in-person JET Programme presentations have been delayed! Please check back at a later date.**


2021 NZ JET Programme Guidelines & Application Form

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS (Please read before applying):


  1. Download the "2021 JET Programme Application Guidelines". READ THEM THROUGH COMPLETELY.
  2. Download and complete the "2021 JET Programme Application Form" in the free Adobe Reader according to the "Instructions for Filling out the Application Form". Do NOT use any PDF viewers or editors other than Adobe Reader. Most questions on the Application Form are compulsory. If the required form highlight mode is not already visible, from the EDIT bar, choose PREFERENCES, then FORMS, then check "SHOW BORDER HOVER COLOR FOR FIELDS". Do NOT use 'Preview Mode' in an internet browser to complete the form! You will be unable to save your progress, or the completed form itself!
  3. Once finished, save the PDF Application Form on to your computer, and send it as an e-mail attachment to "" with "2021 JET Programme Application" as the subject. Please note that this digital Application Form does not require a signature at this stage!
  4. If you complete this process correctly, you will receive an automatic out-of-office response to confirm that your email has reached us. IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE THIS E-MAIL, PLEASE CALL (04) 495-8333. Please note that submitting your PDF Application Form via email is only the first step of the application process, and all below steps must be completed in order to be considered as a finished application for the 2021 JET Programme!
  5. Print out your completed Application Form PDF (single-sided), hand-sign it in pen, and follow further instructions as stated in the "2021 JET Programme Application Guidelines", pages 4, 10 & 11. You will need to assemble your COMPLETE physical Application Pack in compliance with the Guidelines!
  6. Make sure that you read CAREFULLY over "Application Procedures" (page 4 of the Guidelines) and "Applicants' Checklist" (pages 10 & 11 of the Guidelines) before you submit your Application Pack.
  7. Please ensure all answers are clearly legible when printed out (i.e. that all text is contained within the borders of the answer boxes, and the font size is not too small).
  8. All completed Application Packs MUST ARRIVE PHYSICALLY at the Japan Information and Cultural Centre, Embassy of Japan in Wellington, New Zealand by 5:00pm NZST, Monday 14 December 2020, either by post, courier, or hand-delivery. This deadline will be STRICTLY OBSERVED, and late applications will NOT be accepted. Early applications are appreciated!

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to reach out to the Embassy of Japan's JET Officer at (04) 495-8333 or at any time.




  1. Download 2021 JET Programme Application Guidelines[PDF, 201KB]
  2. Download Instructions for Filling out the Application Form[PDF, 74KB]
  3. Download 2021 JET Programme Application Form[PDF, 1485KB]
    Please ensure you use Adobe Reader version 10 or above to complete this form. Do NOT use 'Preview Mode' in an internet browser to complete the form! You will be unable to save your progress!
  4. Download the Statement of Physician[PDF, 192KB] ONLY IF you currently have, or have ever had any physical or mental condition or illness.


2021 JET Programme Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Applications for the 2021 JET Programme have CLOSED. The information below is for REFERENCE PURPOSES ONLY and will be updated when applications for the 2022 JET Programme open in September 2021.

Q: I haven't graduated yet! Can I still apply? Do I need to do anything special?

A: Yes to both questions! If you have not graduated yet, you CAN still apply! BUT: one of the references must be from someone related to your university (professor, lecturer, etc.). Finally, your degree MUST be conferred before your Japan departure date.

Q: Is there an age limit for applying to the JET Programme?

A: No! There is no longer any age limit for applicants to the JET Programme! As long as you meet all of our eligibility criteria, you are welcome to apply. Because the JET Programme was originally conceived as a post-graduate youth employment exchange programme, the bulk of our participants tend to skew younger. The most important thing is understanding the aims and goals of the Programme, and applying equipped with the means to advance them!

Q: I can't get all my classes on to my transcript because I'm not finished! Can I still apply?

A: Yes! One thing people often struggle to get in on time is their transcripts. If you are still studying, we know that your academic transcript won't include this semester's grades — and that's not a problem! However, please apply for it ASAP (as it can take 2-3 weeks for the university to process it) and submit it with your course grades up until now by the deadline of 5:00pm NZST, Monday 14 December 2020.

Q: I'm a New Zealand citizen living outside of New Zealand! Can I still apply from overseas?

A:Yes! New Zealanders living overseas are welcome to apply to the New Zealand JET Programme. However, keep in mind that all applicants to the New Zealand JET Programme, regardless of their current place of residence, MUST interview (and depart) from one of the three interview locations in New Zealand: Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch. There is no opportunity for long-distance interviews or similar, or the option to change interview locations to another country.

Q: Are digital transcripts/letters/degrees/testamurs okay to submit with my application?

A: The JET Programme ALWAYS requires official hard-copy documents from your university, or Justice of the Peace-certified copies of such. However, from 2019, JET Programme New Zealand will also accept MyeQuals-certified digital documents in a two-step process. As long as you also send the IDENTICAL digital copies of academic documents to the JET Programme New Zealand within the official MyeQuals New Zealand website, printed (unofficial) copies of those same academic documents may be submitted as part of your physical Application Pack. Please choose "Send my documents to a registered organisation", type "JET Programme New Zealand" as the recipient, and fill out the required information. DO NOT assign an expiry date to your documentation! If you are having any trouble obtaining these documents, please contact your Embassy or Consulate ASAP for assistance!

Q: How do I submit digital transcripts/letters/degrees/testamurs for my application?

A: On the Official MyeQuals New Zealand website, please choose "Send my documents to a registered organisation", then type "JET Programme New Zealand" as the recipient, and fill out all required information. DO NOT assign an expiry date to your documentation! If you are having any trouble obtaining these documents, please contact your Embassy or Consulate ASAP for assistance! Remember that you MUST also submit IDENTICAL printed copies of ALL documents you have submitted digitally.

Q: I have a great family member/friend, can I ask them for a reference letter?

A: No. A family member/friend is not an appropriate reference, and will be disregarded.

Q: My referee is overseas! Can I submit their scanned signature in my original packet?

A: No. All references must be original copies, and include a hand-signed signature (a scanned copy or electronic signature is NOT acceptable, so please allow time for your referee to post you the original).

Q: Who else would be ideal as a referee?

A: In addition to someone who knows your academic background, it's a good idea to choose a previous/current manager and/or someone from a community organisation/group that you have been involved in. Ideally, they can give a personal assessment of your abilities as a participant in the JET Programme, (including your ability to adjust and adapt to a foreign culture as well as commenting on your ability to work with people, and your quality of work) and career aspirations that have motivated you to apply. They should also outline their relationship to you, and how long they have known you for. Additionally, we do not require references to be confidential (we encourage you to open and collate your reference letters), but require them to be on letterhead wherever applicable.

Q: Question 26c. on the application asks if I want to be considered for an early placement! Going to Japan up to 5 months early sounds great! Is it a good option for me?

A: That depends! First, you should know that there are a very limited number of Early Placements available (less than 5% of total Kiwi JETs leave early). These vacancies tend to arise because, for an unknown reason, a JET Participant has not completed their contract, and the contracting organisation cannot wait until September to get a replacement. You will still go through the application and interview process at the same time as everyone else, but everything in March is quite rushed!

You will:
- Have little or NO handover from your predecessor!
- Have no control over your placement, and any specific requests for such will not be considered.
- Have to complete and submit your certificate of health at the interview stage (late February).
- Arrive in Japan before most JET Participants.
- Miss out on Q&A sessions, Pre-Departure Orientation, Language Workshops, and more, as well as the chance to meet other New Zealand JET Programme Participants.
- Have less than one month to prepare for departure (tricky for getting out of your job or flat!)
- Be going into a potentially tense situation, depending on the circumstances under which your predecessor left.
- Not be considered for arrival in September if you are selected and decline a placement.

Think CAREFULLY about whether or not putting a 'Y' in the Q26c. box is the right option for you.

Q: Has the 2021 JET Programme application cycle been affected by COVID-19?

A: Currently, applications for the 2021 JET Programme are due to proceed without interruption, and all planned events are on track. However, COVID-19 is a constantly evolving situation, and some Programme steps may be adjusted accordingly in the future. Moving, living, and working overseas is stressful for everyone, regardless of experience or global events, and as such we ask that all potential JET Programme participants carefully consider their own mental and physical health before applying to the Programme.

JET Alumni Associations

Former JET participants can contact:


Kendra Sim (Country Representative)
JETAA New Zealand


Horace Yeung (President)
JETAA Auckland


Anna Griffin (President)
JETAA Wellington
c/o Japan Information & Cultural Centre
Embassy of Japan
PO Box 6340
Marion Square
Wellington 6141

South Island

Nick Ward (President)
JETAA South Island
PO Box 13 748
Christchurch 8141

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