The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program: 30 Years of Public Diplomacy in Practice

  • Emily T. Metzgar


Although it was established 30 years ago and has generated more than 60,000 alumni worldwide, the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program is rarely studied as an international exchange effort. Employing original survey data, this chapter considers the JET Program in the context of the literature of international exchanges. Focused specifically on American alumni of the program, the work presented here suggests that by recruiting young college graduates to live in Japan for periods of a year or more, the JET Program is well designed to promote lifelong affinity toward Japan on the part of participants long after they have returned home.


Exchange Program Program Participant Japanese Government International Exchange Liberal Democratic Party 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Atkinson, C. (2010). Does soft power matter? A comparative analysis of student exchange programs 1980–2006. Foreign Policy Analysis, 6, 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cull, N. (2008). Public diplomacy: Taxonomies and histories. In P. Kaniss (Ed.), The annals of the American academy of political and social science (pp. 31–54). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Damage Situation and Police Counter Measures. (2014, September 11). National Police Agency of Japan. Retrieved from
  4. Freyburg, T. (2015). Transnational networks as an apprenticeship in democracy? Socialization into democratic governance through cross-national activities. International Studies Quarterly, 59(1), 59–72.Google Scholar
  5. Gannon, J. (2011, September 8). Commemorative address: A triumph of soft power. JET Program 25th Anniversary Commemorative Symposium. Japan Center for International Exchange, New York.Google Scholar
  6. Haas, P. M. (1992). Introduction: Epistemic communities and international policy coordination. International Organization, 46(1), 1–35.Google Scholar
  7. Japan Quake: Loss and Recovery in Numbers. (2012). BBC News. Retrieved from
  8. Kaye, B. K. (1999). Taming the cyber frontier: Techniques for improving online surveys. Social Science Computer Review, 17(3), 323–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kaye, B. K. (2007). Blog use motivations: An exploratory study. In M. Tremayne (Ed.), Blogging, citizenship and the future of media (pp. 127–148). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Kaye, B. K., & Johnson, T. J. (2002). Online and in the know: Uses and gratifications of the web for political information. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 46(1), 54–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. McConnell, D. L. (2000). Importing diversity: Inside Japan’s JET program. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  12. McConnell, D. L. (2008). Japan’s image problem and the soft power solution: The JET program as cultural diplomacy. In Y. Watanabe & D. L. McConnell (Eds.), Soft power superpowers: Cultural and national assets of Japan and the United States (pp. 18–36). New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc.Google Scholar
  13. Metzgar, E. T. (2011, April 8). This is what public diplomacy looks like. Center on public diplomacy blog. University of Southern California, Center on Public Diplomacy. Retrieved from
  14. Metzgar, E.T. (2012). Promoting Japan: One JET at a time. University of Southern California, Center on Public Diplomacy, CPD Perspectives on Public Diplomacy, 2. Retrieved from
  15. Millions of Stricken Japanese Lack Water, Food, Heat. (2011, March 14). National Public Radio. Retrieved from
  16. Nye, J. S. (2004). Soft power: The means to success in world politics. PublicAffairs.Google Scholar
  17. Opinion Poll: 2012 U.S. Image of Japan. (2012). Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved from
  18. Oskin, B. (2013). Japan earthquake and tsunami of 2011: Facts and information. LiveScience. Retrieved from
  19. Proedrou, F., & Frangonikolopoulos, C. (2012). Refocusing public diplomacy: The need for strategic discursive public diplomacy. Diplomacy and Statecraft, 23, 728–745.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Remarks at the U.S.-Japan Council Annual Conference. (2011). United States Department of State. Retrieved from
  21. Ruch, G. (2013). A ‘profitable’ partnership: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks at the US-Japan Business Conference. Asia Matters for America. Retrieved from
  22. Scott-Smith, G. (2008). Mapping the undefinable: Some thoughts on the relevance of exchange programs within International Relations theory. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 616, 173–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Scott-Smith, G. (2009). Exchange programs and public diplomacy. In N. Snow & P. M. Taylor (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of public diplomacy (pp. 50–56). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. The Three Types of Positions on the JET Program. (2014). JET Program. Retrieved from
  25. Welcome to the JET Program. (2014). JET Program. Retrieved from
  26. Who Supports the JET Program?. (2014). JET Program. Retrieved from
  27. U.S. Chapters. (2014). JET Alumni Association. Retrieved from
  28. Wilson, I. (2010). Are international exchange and mobility programs effective tools of symmetric public diplomacy? Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Aberystwth University.Google Scholar
  29. Wilson, I. (2013). Ends changed, means retained: Scholarship programs, political influence, and drifting goals. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 17(1), 130–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily T. Metzgar
    • 1
  1. 1.The Media SchoolIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations