Conditions of entitlement
You are entitled to a one-way economy-class ticket directly to the airport from which you departed to come to Japan if you follow these three criteria.
- Complete your contract in full
- Leave Japan to return to your home country within one month of ending your contract
- Do not enter into a subsequent employment contract either with your host institution or a third party in Japan within a month of finishing your contract with JET.
How do I get to the airport?
Your contracting organization is also responsible for your passage from the contracting organization to the international airport in Japan from which you will be leaving. The most direct route will be picked from your apartment to your airport.
This does not include the cost of a hotel or other accommodation if you choose to stay over the night before your flight. Remember this when choosing your departure time.
How to get the ticket?
It is best to start this conversation with your Supervisor or Contracting Organization early, January or February, the ideal would be after you decide not to re-contract. The latest would be June, but this may come with issues.
High school JETs will all have their tickets purchased by their schools after submitting a “Return Itinerary”. You can ask your school for the form. The Hyogo BOE has their own version they use. If your school doesn’t know what you’re talking about, tell them the form is called a ” JET sankasha kikoku yoteisho/JET 参加者帰国 予定書”
Junior high school JETs must speak with their contracting organization about the type of ticket to be provided and whether to provide an actual ticket or the equivalent amount of money. However, this is at the discretion of each contracting organization/school.
Typically the money allocated for return flights is around 200,000 yen, however there have been cases where participants have been given more. This is a ESID situation.
Ticket entitlement will be forfeited under the following conditions:
- If you stay in Japan longer than a month after the expiration of your JET contract. If you want to travel around Japan or take a long time packing etc., that’s fine, but don’t spend more than a month doing so, or you will forfeit your passage home. Also, please bear in mind that if you are traveling within Japan, you cannot fly home from your travel destination. You must fly from the nearest international airport to your home.
- If you have any job offers to enter into a any new contract for a job in Japan within a month of the end of your JET contract, you are also ineligible for return air passage.
- If a JET is taking up employment in another country (other than their home country) directly after JET, a ticket will not be provided for a flight to that country.
If You Are Buying Your Own Ticket
Please choose one way tickets, not return tickets. Whilst return tickets may be cheaper, some companies may make you pay the difference between your return ticket and a single ticket if you do not use your return portion of your ticket. For example, if you pay 100000 yen for a return ticket home, when a one way would normally cost 150000 yen, you may be liable to pay for the difference of 50000 yen if you don’t fly back on the return ticket. Because this cost would be paid by you, not your CO, please purchase one way tickets only.
When choosing a ticket, please choose a discount ticket which does not allow for departure dates to be changed, as these are considerably cheaper.
When booking your flights please try to avoid reserving a ticket during the Obon season in Japan which is roughly from August 10th to the 20th, as flights get more expensive during that time.
Please do not book flights online. Please use a Japanese travel agent based here in Japan. The reasons for this are that Japanese travel agents will allow you to pay in yen, and will also be able to provide an appropriate quote/mitsumorisho that will be accepted by your CO’s accounting department.
Once your contracting organisation has approved one of the quotes, pay for the flight they approved to secure your seat. Do not pay for your ticket by credit card. The Accounting Division does not allow for reimbursement of credit card purchases. Please pay for your flight by either cash, or by bank transfer (furikomi).
You may not be reimbursed until up to a week before your flight, so don’t panic, but do communicate with your CO if you are concerned or there is any issues with this.
Can I fly back to a different airport?
If your home country changes while you are living in Japan, it is possible to change the final destination of your return flight, but it is less common under other circumstances. Also, in this instance, you must inform you CO of your intentions as soon as possible. There have been cases when participants were able to select a different airport in the same country if it was also a departure point for JET participants. Discuss this with you CO, a strong reason for changing, or if the flight you want to take is cheaper, will be helpful
Can I fly back from Tokyo?
In short, no. Every year COs receive several requests to fly back from Tokyo, but it is not possible. COs are required to supply you with a flight from the nearest international airport that provides flights to your home country. For Hyogo JETs, this means departing from Kansai International Airport or Itami Airport.
What kind of flight will I get?
The ticket will in principle be for a direct flight. If a direct flight is not available a ticket requiring the smallest number of transfers will be provided. If your school proposes a flight with a large number of transfers, point them to page 200 of the General Information Handbook. Typically the cheapest flight will be preferred, please compare flights if you are selecting your own.
I need to go home before my contract ends. Can I take leave and go home early?
It is possible that your contracting organization will let you use nenkyu to leave early, and this has happened in the past. However, it is not guaranteed, and most contracting organizations require their JETs to stay until their contract ends. If your CO lets you leave early, be sure to clarify whether or not they will provide your flight home in these circumstances. Clarify everything with your BOE before making any plans.
I had to use unpaid leave, and now my BOE won’t buy me a return ticket
Most likely, your contract does not have any provisions that allow unpaid leave. This means that if you miss work after running out of nenkyu, you technically are unable to complete your contract in full, and your BOE no longer owes you a ticket.
Do I have to take the flight back?
Once a return flight has been organized for you, you must return on it. Failure to do so will mean you have to pay your school back in full for the ticket they have bought for you in addition to any alternative transport you may have organized for yourself. If you plan on staying in Japan, please inform your CO as early as possible.
Note: In past years, we have had cases of a JET receiving a plane ticket but then not showing up at the airport for their flight. This JET was then required to pay their CO back for the cost of the unused plane ticket! Please do not let this happen to you. If you find that you are suddenly very ill or cannot take your flight for some other unavoidable reason, please contact your CO and consult with them immediately.
What if I miss my flight due to sickness or injury?
In these cases JET will organize a replacement flight, if you are will within 1 month after the end of your contract.
Does JET pay for transport of luggage?
No, there are companies in Japan that provide this service, such as Yamato (often called kuro-neko, or black cat). But it is your own responsibility to assure your belongings are at the airport or sent home before departing.