What’s special about Niigata?
For those arriving in Niigata on the JET Programme, there is an important distinction to be made, for work purposes only, between those arriving on the Niigata Municipal JET Programme and those arriving on the Niigata Prefectural JET Programme.
Why is this?
Niigata City is classified as a designated city, which means it has more autonomy in several areas of governance, including education. As such, Niigata City hires its JET ALTs & CIRs separately from the other cities/towns/schools in Niigata Prefecture.
What am I?
If your JET Programme Placement is stated as Niigata-shi, then welcome to Niigata City! You have a city placement, though that does not necessarily mean city centre. Due to recent expansions of the city borders (circa 2005), there is a wide variety of placements inside the city.
If it is instead stated as OOO-shi, OOO-machi, OOO-mura (anything but Niigata), or your employer is the Niigata Prefectural Board of Education, then you are with the Prefectural programme! There are a lot more Prefectural Programme ALTs and CIRs, however, they are spread out over a greater area.
Further note: nearly all Prefectural Board of Education-employed ALTs will be SHS ALTs; this is due to the non-mandatory nature of SHS Education and the fact that it is funded directly by the Prefecture.
What does this mean?
Essentially, the two different programmes have separate in-prefecture orientations. You will receive more information later from your employers about these orientations.
Furthermore, all Prefectural Programme ALTs take part in the annual Skills Development Conference, held in January.
While JET Programme participants are split into the Niigata Municipal JET Programme or the Niigata Prefectural JET Programme for training purposes, all JET Programme participants in Niigata are members of Niigata AJET and can participate in Niigata AJET events.