How Much You Can Expect To Be Paid On The JET Program(me)

Now particularly with all the changes to the JET program compensation and introduction of the sliding pay-scale which began this year. There were many very worried prospective applicants this time last year (myself included) who would have done anything to get their hands on some solid information regarding how much we could expect to take home.
These are my last couple pay slips, which accurately reflect exactly how much a Kobe JET participant can hope to take home a month. Those in other prefectures can end up with slightly more or less but 20万円 (200,000¥) a month is a good ballpark figure.


Now since we are quite fortunate in Kobe and get a couple bonus perks with our income ill break it down.
So for our first year we earn 3.36百万円 (3,360,000¥) or 28万円 (280,000¥) on a monthly basis. From this the deductions include:
1.5万円 (15,000¥) mandatory heath insurance
2.5万円 (25,000¥) average social security
6千円 (6,000¥) income tax (note: Americans are not subject to this for the first 2 years on the program due to a tax treaty)
3.9万円 (39,000¥) apartment rent (originally around 8万円 but half is paid for by the Kobe Board of Education)

This usually leaves me with around 19万円 take home money. However one of our perks living in Kobe is that we are refunded our transportation expenses, this amount is dependent on the route you must take to work, mine is 15,640¥ a month. However to complicate things depending on the month sometimes we are paid out for a month transport pass at a time and once a year a 6 month pass (which is why the pay for October is so much higher than November).

Soon as my second year rolls around (6 more months wew!) my pay will go up to 3600000¥ a year, in my third year it will again rise to 3900000¥ and if I so choose to the pay in the 4-5th years is 3960000¥.
Although I earn significantly less than many if my friends I haven’t really noticed any difference in our lifestyles as most people save quite a lot of money whilst on JET (I have many temptations here in Kobe but I imagine saving in the inaka is even easier!). The first few months money was quite tight I will admit, however once your apartment is furnished money is not such a problem as Japan can be quite the affordable country if you live sensibly.

Anyhow I hope this breakdown was somewhat helpful, as always feel free to hitt me up if you have any questions.

JET Program 2012 Pay Scale and Tax Changes

So finally today there was some clarification from CLAIR about the changes to the remuneration for JET Programme participants in 2012.
These changes have been the subject of fierce debate and speculation on the JET Program and ITIL forums over the past few months since the sliding pay scale and pre-tax remuneration was announced around a month ago when the applications were released.

Here is the news on the official JET Program website……. sadly it’s not the good kind of news

Basically in short the JET Program pipe dream is over with new participants receiving a hefty pay cut as of next year…… which would include me v_v

Up until now, the yearly remuneration for JET Programme participants has been set at approximately 3.6 million yen post-tax.

As of 2012 the new sliding scale will pay will be as follows
3.36m million yen for the first appointment,
3.6m yen for the second appointment,
3.9m yen for the third appointment and
3.96m yen for those appointed for a fourth and fifth year.

See this would be fine and all since it costs contracting organizations a huge amount of money to get new JET’s so its in their best interest to encourage participants to re-contract and this system I believe would work.
My issue is that this pay scale rather than being AFTER TAX like it used to be is now going to be BEFORE TAX!!
Now the tax system in Japan is a tad complicated since it comprises of Income Tax (10%), Local inhabitants tax  (varies by prefecture but around 10%) and JET participants are required to pay a compulsory pension & national insurance which is about  40,000 yen a month.
What will the final post tax pay, well that’s still up in the air and I’m sure will differ from person to person

What really annoys me is that due to a tax treaty American ALTs will be exempt from Japanese tax where as first year, non-U.S.-ALT JETs will need to pay tax out of their 3.36million per year

and the reasons for these changes……
What is the reason for the change in remuneration? (Quoted from
-To provide incentive for participants who
are appointed for more than one term.
-To reduce the financial burden for contracting
organisations and to reduce the complicated
administrative procedures when calculating
a post-tax remuneration.

Basically the JET Program is trolling us

Maybe they could try saving a little money by cutting some of the extravagant all expenses paid conferences that are held every year instead if things are that tight, at the end of the day where this pay cut is a drop of water to a government organization it is very substantial to the average JET applicant. 
I  think this initial pay cut may be due to the lack in government funding due to the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. However I am just happy they decided not to put the JET Program on the chopping block which has been rumoured for years. But hey I’m sure this year will be much easier to get into as a result, surely the pay cut will be to deter at least a couple applicants.

Personally, as long as I have a couple 100$ extra to send home every month to service my mortgage I’ll be content, I’m not in JET for the money, I’m applying because it seems like an organic step in my life to achieve my aspirations. JET for me is the stepping stone I have dreamed of for half a decade, so am I disheartened by this news? Not in the least, I’ll be in Japan soon enough! がんばって!

Anyway I’m off, since it was Halloween yesterday here’s a cosplaying Nyanpug!!!