The PA System

The Prefectural Advisor (PA) System was created in 1991 to better support the participants of the JET Programme.

In Shimane, four PAs work together to help resolve issues and ensure smooth running of the Shimane JET Programme. Your PA team has training, experience and knowledge of Japanese culture, language, workplaces and education that you can draw on when making decisions and addressing problems.

Please feel free to contact any us anytime, regardless of our proximity to you in the prefecture.

Shimane PAs
Alex Hart-Smith, ALT-PA (left) & Oliver Marshall, CIR-PA (right)

The current JET PAs are Alexander Hart-Smith (ALT-PA) <> and Oliver Marshall (CIR-PA) <>. Please note that the CIR/ALT titles refer to our employment status – not our PA roles – and we have an open door policy in Shimane; if you’re a CIR you are totally free to contact the ALT-PA, and as an ALT you are free to contact the CIR-PA. For example, if you are a CIR but have an upcoming school visit, you are free to contact the ALT-PA for advice. Likewise, if you’re an ALT with upcoming interpretation duties, you might prefer to contact the CIR-PA for advice.

What Do the PAs Do?

Shimane’s PAs provide a variety of services to JETs, the most important of which are listed below:


Living and working as a foreigner in Shimane can become stressful at times. Problems can be furthered by culture shock, language difficulties and winter. Your PAs can refer you to counseling services to help you overcome these difficulties if and when they arise. You can talk to us about culture shock, burnout, depression, stressful situations, major decisions such as re-contracting, or whatever is on your mind! 

Confidentiality is strictly upheld in all situations. The only exceptions to this is if a JET poses an imminent threat to themselves or others, the JET has committed an illegal act/breach of their contract or the JET participant has agreed/requested for their information to be shared with someone who can assist them.


You can also consult your PAs when addressing problems that are work-related or arise from cultural differences, educational differences, or any other practical problems that you encounter. Things that you can talk to us about include contracts, holidays, team-teaching, work relations, cultural relations, communication problems, etc.


If you face a dispute with another party (for example, with a fellow JET or a supervisor) your PAs can offer mediation services to ensure effective communication and dialog to help address the problem. We can also offer a listening ear and advice on approaching the problem. If all parties agree, we can also offer our services in person to the parties involved. This would involve identifying common and individual needs, and then ways to fulfill as many of those needs as possible. Specifically during mediation, PAs represent all parties involved, and therefore cannot ensure confidentiality.

Crisis Response and Management

Although it is best to contact us during normal working hours or schedule an appointment, if an emergency occurs, you can contact us immediately at any time. Such situations could include: medical emergencies, crime incidents, bereavement, natural disasters, physical or mental trauma, personal crises (including suicidal or violent thoughts), etc. We will try to help you manage and deal with any such crises.

*** It’s important to note that PAs are not counselors. In a case where a PA feels the situation requires more expertise, the PA will – with your consent – arrange for a referral to an appropriate professional.***

The “Bulletin Board” (BB)

The PAs send a weekly e-mail newsletter called The “Shimane Bulletin Board” (“The BB”) to help clarify work related issues, legal information that affects you, event information, etc. We are always trying to make The BB better and more interesting, so if you have anything you would like included, feel free to contact any one of the PAs.

Types of PA

JET Prefectural Advisors: The role of Prefectural Advisor is to provide consultation and mediation directly to other JET participants. The Prefectural Advisors also are the organizers of Orientations, Skills Development Conferences, and Opinion Exchange Meetings. Both JET-PAs have duties outside of their roles as PA.

Japanese Prefectural Advisor:  The Japanese PAs are also primarily in charge of communicating with your BOEs regarding conferences and other important announcements from CLAIR, MEXT, collecting and collating paper work and administrative work. They are also the first port of call for supervisors/schools to contact when there is a problem with a JET. The Japanese PA and the JET PAs work together closely throughout the year.


2 thoughts on “The PA System

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s