Category Archives: Notices

Coronavirus Update (25 February)

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Last week the first confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Kyushu emerged in Fukuoka. As of 25th Februray, 4 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Kumamoto Prefecture; three in Kumamoto City and one in Kamimashiki. 

Due to these confirmed cases of domestic transmission of coronavirus in Japan whose route of transmission is unclear/cannot be connected with China, the following criteria for contacting your local health centre (保健所, hokenjo) have been implemented:

If you experience any of the following symptoms, please contact your local health centre (保健所, hokenjo) regardless of whether you have recently travelled to Hubei or Zhejiang provinces, or have had prolonged contact with someone who has been to Hubei or Zhejiang provinces.

  1. Cold symptoms that continue for 4 days or longer, or a fever of 37.5˚C or higher that continues for 4 days or longer, including when taking fever-reducing medication (2 days for elderly individuals or those with underlying conditions); or
  2. Severe drowsiness (fatigue) or difficulty breathing

If you experience these symptoms, refrain from going to clinics or hospitals. Instead, please contact your local hokenjo by telephone, explain your symptoms and await further instructions. We recommend asking your tantosha to call on your behalf.

In addition, at this time we would also like to ask all Kumamoto JETs to contact the PAs if you have any symptoms.

And again, here are the telephone numbers for the hokenjo across the prefecture:

Ariake (Tamana, Arao, Nagasu) – 0968-72-2184
Yamaga – 0968-44-4121
Kikuchi (Kikuchi, Ozu) – 0968-25-4138
Aso (Aso, Ubuyama, Nishihara) – 0967-24-9030
Mifune (Yamato, Mashiki, Mifune, Kosa, Kashima)- 096-282-0016
Uki (Uto, Misato) – 0964-32-1207
Yatsushiro – 0965-33-3229
Minamata (Ashikita, Tsunagi, Minamata) – 0966-63-4104
Hitoyoshi (Asagiri, Kuma, Nishiki, Sagara, Yamae) – 0966-22-3107
Amakusa (Amakusa, Kamiamakusa) – 0969-23-0172
Kumamoto City – 096-372-0705 or 096-364-3222

The Kumamoto City and Kumamoto Prefectural Boards of Education have also announced that they will close a school for a minimum of two weeks in the event that any students, parents/guardians, or teachers, or people cohabiting with them have Covid-19. This applies to ALTs as well. Municipal ALTs, please ask your tantosha to find out your city, town or village’s BOE policy on school closures.

Kumamoto Prefectural Government has also cancelled a large number of prefecturally-sponsored events, such as the Kumamoto UNESCO Association’s bus tour to Hitoyoshi, and Kumamon’s 10th birthday festival. For a list of cancelled events, see this document from the Kumamoto Prefecture homepage: https://www.pref.kumamoto.jp/common/UploadFileOutput.ashx?c_id=4&id=3035&flid=222579

In terms of travelling overseas at this time, there are a number of countries and regions outside of China where Covid-19 appears to be spreading rapidly. They include, but are not limited to, South Korea, Iran, and Italy. Hokkaido has also seen a spike in reported cases. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has not yet released any new travel advisories (apart from the existing ones concerning Hubei and Zhejiang provinces), and decisions about whether or not to travel are yours. (Update: MOFA issued a travel advisory concerning Daegu, South Korea (see map here). We strongly encourage you to exercise caution and make any decision about travel in close collaboration with your contracting organisation. If there is a new advisory or exclusion made by MOFA while you are abroad, or you contract the virus, you may not be able to re-enter Japan.

Finally, although the risk to the non-elderly and those without underlying medical conditions appears to be low, and it may not be possible to prevent the spread of Covid-19 indefinitely, it is still very important to make all efforts to ensure the virus does not spread rapidly, as this could overwhelm the capacity of medical institutions to respond.

Let’s stay calm, rational and informed as the situation unfolds. If there are any major changes to the situation, we will continue to do our best to keep everyone updated and provide accurate information from the prefecture. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time.

Sincerely,
Bilal and Lily

2020 International Speech Contest in Japanese

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Been working on your Japanese and ready to show it to the world? Then why not join the The 61st International Speech Contest in Japanese! The contest will be held on 13 June 2020 in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture. You can sign up for it from 17 February to 23 April.

For the chance to appear at the speech contest, you will first need to write your speech and film yourself delivering it, and then send it to the International Education Center along with your application. Maybe your speech will be selected and you will be able to battle it out with other jouzu folks in Hiroshima for the top prize! For more information, check out the website: http://www.iec-nichibei.or.jp/iec04_2.html

Information Packet for Non-Reappointing JETs

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The information packet for non-reappointing JETs has been updated! If you are a Kumamoto JET who is leaving the JET Programme this year, please consult this extensive guide on the procedures and preparations you should take from now. You can find the packet on this page.

If you have any questions after thoroughly reading the information provided in the packet, please feel free to contact the Kumamoto PAs.

The Leavers’ Meeting will be held on 21 June in Kumamoto City. If you are a JET departing the program this summer, please save this date!

2018 Tax Guide for US JETs

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As  you may have already noticed, the tax guide for American JETs for the 2018 tax year has been updated!  Please check the U.S. Tax Guide section of the website for the updated guides (one for first-year US JETs, one for 2nd-5th year US JETs, and a supplementary document about Japanese taxes) and the FAQ. Or, click here!

Best of luck to everyone in preparing their taxes! Oh, and this year’s version is quite different from previous years’, so do keep that in mind 😉

Welcome Fujimoto-sensei!

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Say hello to your new Japanese SHS P.A., Fujimoto-sensei! Below is her self-introduction:

Hi! I’m Emi Fujimoto, Prefectural Advisor at Kumamoto Prefectural Board of Education Upper Secondary School Division. I’m Ms. Takaki’s successor. Some people call me “next Takaki-sensei.” I’ve worked at four different high schools. I used to work with Ms. Takaki at Hitoyoshi High School and Uto High School, and with Jonny at Kumamoto Kita High School. I really enjoyed teaching English with them. I hope all the ALTs on JET Programme in Kumamoto will enjoy teaching and enjoy life in Kumamoto.

2017 Tax Guide for US JETs

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The tax guide for American JETs for the 2017 tax year has been updated! Please check the U.S. Tax Guide section of the website for the updated guides (one for first-year US JETs, one for 2nd-5th year US JETs) and the FAQ. Or, click here!

Best of luck to everyone in preparing their taxes!

Tax Packets for U.S. JETs

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It’s finally here! The thing you’ve all been waiting for! Tax-mon

The 2016 tax year packet for first-year U.S. JETs and the packet for second through fifth-year U.S. JETs are now available. Please visit the tax page for more information.

If you spot an error, please let us know. Happy tax filing!

Event – Yatsushiro Fireworks Festival

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FYI…

yatsushiro-fireworks-festival-2The Yatsushiro Fireworks Festival will be held Saturday, October 15 from 18:00 to 20:15. This is the largest fireworks show in Kyushu and each year pyrotechnicians from across Japan compete to produce the most spectacular fireworks displays.

The fireworks will be shot off over the Kuma River in Yatsushiro City (near the Kuma River Green Area Park, 八代球磨川河川緑地). The festival may be accessed by train (get off at Yatsushiro Station) or by car (free parking will be available in some areas). This event is extremely popular, so expect roads and trains to be very crowded.

Should there be severe weather, the festival will be postponed to Saturday, November 5.

More information is available here (Japanese).

JET Arigato Campaign

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In addition to the JET video and photo contests (mentioned in previous posts), CLAIR is also running the JET Arigato Campaign, a chance for current/former JET participants as well as Japanese residents who have interacted with JET participants to give their thanks to their schools, communities, and the important people in their lives. CLAIR is looking for text messages, audio messages, photos, and videos to help support their campaign. Unlike the video and photo contests, CLAIR would like smaller size submissions as they plan to combine many of them into a presentation to be shown at the 30th Anniversary Ceremony. In addition, selected submissions will be featured online by CLAIR.

Submissions are being accepted from May 18 to August 31. You can find more information about the campaign on the JET Programme Website.