JET's 30th anniversary
Celebrating in Japan
As part of the JET Programme’s 30th anniversary celebrations, Sarah Parsons, chair of JETAA UK and representative of England and Wales, and Jessica Brown, representative of Scotland, travelled to Japan in November. In Tokyo, they joined 18 other country representatives from JETAA chapters worldwide, to attend a JETAA International Meeting and the 30th Anniversary Commemorative Ceremony.
On the first day, there was a global forum, where JETAA International members had an opinion exchange with Japanese ministries and CLAIR. They were also able to discuss matters relating to JETAA activities around the world with current AJET members, including how to collaborate and raise the profile of JETAA support globally. They watched presentations about the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games by the Games organising committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
On the second day, members went to what was likely their first port of call when they arrived in Japan to join the JET Programme: the Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo. There they attended the programme’s commemorative ceremony, which was also attended by his Imperial Highness Naruhito, Crown Prince of Japan, and her Imperial Highness Masako, Crown Princess of Japan.
A JET declaration that had been prepared by JETAA International was read out by representatives from AJET and JETAA International, after which JETAA International members had the honour of meeting and talking with the Crown Prince and Princess at a private reception held in the hotel.
During the reception, Sarah and Jessica expressed their gratitude for having been able to take part in the JET Programme. They shared details of JETAA UK activities and their impressions of their time in Japan.
When asked for her reflections on the event, Sarah said: “The conference was a great chance not only to meet other JETAA chapters from around the globe but also to share directly information about our activities, successes and challenges with Japanese ministries and CLAIR.
“It was also a great acknowledgement of the importance given to the JET Programme by Japan, and of the hard work JETAA volunteers put into making sure ties to Japan remain strong post JET. It was an honour to represent England and Wales at this event and to meet the Crown Prince and his wife—something I am sure none of us will ever forget," she said.
JETAA International will hold a meeting in three years’ time. There are also plans to do another satogaeri (homecoming) so that ex-JETs can re-connect with their former home towns in Japan.
Celebrating at home
In November 2016, the Consul General of Japan in Edinburgh, Daisuke Matsunaga, hosted a reception to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the JET programme and to welcome JET returnees home to the UK.
In attendance were JET alumni, representatives from Japanese companies in Scotland, university career services staff, and representatives from the Japan Society of Scotland.
There were plenty of opportunities to network and talk about the JET Programme. Some company representatives were unfamiliar with the programme, yet very eager to ask questions about it and get to know more about the JET experience.
As part of the 30th anniversary celebrations, the Consul General gave his thanks to JETAA, as well as a framed certificate in recognition of its efforts to improve relationships between Japan and Scotland as well as the UK as a whole. The certificate was accepted by Matt Sanders, vice-chair and treasurer of JETAA Scotland.
As has become customary, JETAA arranged a nijikai (after party) at a nearby venue after the reception, where the celebration continued.
Send us your video clips!
In celebration of the 30th anniversary, JETAA UK is organising a reception hosted by the Japan–British Parliamentary Group in March, to celebrate three years of UK–Japan relations between the group and ex-JETs. To mark this event, we would like to create a video montage using footage from the past 30 years of JET that shows how the programme has influenced our lives. If you have any video clips showing things you are doing or did after JET or of life on JET years ago that may be in stark contrast to today, please send them in. Even if the clips are on video tapes, we would love to know about them. We will give invitations to this event to the people who submit the two best entries. Please send videos and/or ideas to email@example.com by 31 January.