The final few months before you leave the JET Programme will go by very fast – here are some recommendations to make your departure a little less rushed or stressful.
- Map out your final months so you get a clear idea of the amount of time and tasks you have to do.
- Start saving and budgeting for post-JET life. You never know how long you’ll be without a regular paycheck once JET ends. You might be asked to pay for your return flight, then be reimbursed, so it’s good to have something saved.
- Also, be sure to start saving for final residence tax payments if you will leave Japan. You will likely need to pay your taxes for the entire previous year (the bill many JETs get around June) plus the period from January 1st to departure. This amount will vary greatly based on your year on the program and whether you are a US ALT or not.
- Start cleaning, clearing big possessions, or at least start thinking about it. You can advertise items in this Facebook group.
- Start filling in the Saga Successor Handover Document [PDF]
- Start sorting through personal possessions and decide what things you will be taking, selling, giving away and discarding – make use of all your remaining non-burnable rubbish days. Do not dispose of things that belong to your CO (e.g. washing machine, refrigerator, etc). If you are not sure if something belongs to your CO, ask your supervisor. CO items are usually labeled with a special seal.
- If you want to use your nenkyu at the end of your contract to finish work earlier, ask your supervisor if this is acceptable, and notify them well ahead of time.
- Start planning your air ticket home. Ask you supervisor if they haven’t talked you about it yet and find out the process. You might be asked to find quotes. Ensure you understand the whole process.
- Start making arrangements for shipping items home.
- Confirm with your CO what the necessary procedures will be for handing over your apartment to your successor. Clarify what final payments, etc. you will need to make.
- Incoming JETs should find out about their placements from late May/early June to all the way until early July. If you are being replaced by a new JET, contact them as soon as possible (after you receive permission to from you CO) and send them your handover information.
- If you require any adjustments in your Status of Residence, including extension, change of status, or obtaining a temporary visitor permit, contact the immigration office in Saga early to get a clear understanding of what is required and start the application process with enough time (at least a month is usually recommended) before the expiration of your current Status of Residence. Applications can be made up to two months before the expiry of your visa so don’t leave it until it is too late.
- Start sending items home that you won’t be using or taking on the plane by surface mail, etc.
- Start organizing your bills and other finances, such as assigning a tax representative (probably your supervisor) to handle your tax refund application for your pension lump sum withdrawal payment.
- If you haven’t already, finalize the booking of your airline ticket home.
- Ask your school and supervisors for reference letters. You might want to ask people before April incase people you want references from move jobs.
- If you don’t have a successor, you will probably have to dispose of everything in your home before you leave. Even if there are things in your apartment that were left by previous JETs, you won’t be able to leave them behind.
- Start writing thank you letters and saying goodbye. Farewell gifts to people who were helpful to you during your stay, or letters and cards are recommended. Plan and practice your farewell speech to avoid being a blubbering hot mess.
- Arrange to have your mail forwarded to either someone in Japan or redelivered back home.
- For anyone doing Beyond JET (anyone that is planning to stay and work in Japan this year) should ask their CO to make them a statement of earnings/tax certificate slip (request gensenchoshuhyo 源泉徴収票) for January 1 to their finish date. Their next employer will need it to calculate their taxes properly, or the JET in question will need to deal with the pain that is filling for themselves.
- Finalize details about who will serve as your proxy for bill payments, designate and complete the paperwork for a tax representative if you are leaving Japan. Ensure that you have each others contact information.
- Consult with utility companies/CO to agree on a desired date and on procedures for shutting off utilities and making final payments.
- Pack and send your final postal/shipping packages.
- If you have a car properly sell or dispose of it (haisha 廃車)
- Thoroughly clean your apartment and dispose of remaining rubbish.
- Leave money in your Japanese bank account that can cover final bills that might crop up (approx. 50,000 yen)
- If you are still here when your successor arrives, assist them to get acquainted with their new placement.