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Program Policies

Legal Issues

In addition to the moral and practical aspects of student conduct at the Center, there are important legal concerns that must be taken into account. Many students are granted visas to reside in Japan under the official sponsorship of JCMU and Shiga Prefecture. The Resident Director of JCMU assumes the responsibility of serving as "guarantor" for these program participants.

These participants thus bear a reciprocal responsibility to the Resident Director for their behavior in Japan. Students with "student visas" (generally those starting in the fall semester) also have a reciprocal responsibility to the President of the University of Shiga Prefecture. In both cases, students must be scrupulous in observing the mores of the community, the rules of the Program, and the laws of the country. Failure to do so endangers the trust established between the governments of Shiga and Michigan, and the continuance of the program itself. Some specific rules on drugs, employment and driving require special mention here. These restrictions are rigidly enforced to protect students as individuals from being jailed or deported, and to protect JCMU itself from censure.

Drug Use

Illegal drug use in Japan carries much heavier consequences than in the United States. Laws are harsher and more strictly enforced, and public opinion against drug use is much stronger. Anyone violating the prohibition on drug use will be dismissed from the program without further warning. Students with other substance abuse problems (even with legal substances such as alcohol) may also be sent home.


In general, students are not allowed to work during their stay at JCMU. JCMU students' sole purpose for coming to Japan is to study Japanese language and culture. Unauthorized employment could jeopardize the student's continued stay at JCMU. Students may, however, participate in non-paid internships, a selection of which will be introduced while you are at the center.


JCMU students are not allowed to own or operate motorized vehicles. The restriction on driving a motorized vehicle while in Japan relates to the Japanese concept of liability, which is both broader and more severe than in the US. An accident while driving would affect not only the driver, but also the organizations of which they are a memberthe Japan Center and the Shiga Prefecture Government. Neither the Japan Center nor the Prefecture can accept the social censure and fiscal liability that even a minor accident could bring.

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Student Conduct

The JCMU academic programs involve far more than participating in classes in an overseas setting; they are truly cross-cultural encounters demanding full attention for the duration of your stay in Japan. The boundaries that divide classroom activities from private life are blurred at the Japan Center, where faculty and students live and work together. Along with the mental stimulation and mutual support of life in a tightly knit academic community, there come, of course, certain individual and group responsibilities which keep the community functioning and productive. Students are expected to be actively involved in the day-to-day maintenance of the Center facilities. Students are regarded as official representatives of their universities and their states and as such are expected to behave with appropriate decorum, both inside and outside JCMU.

Statement of Responsibility

You have signed a Statement of Responsibility form for this program. This is a document outlining your obligations and responsibilities to the program. Please read it carefully. Michigan State University's general student regulations also apply to JCMU students, in the absence of JCMU-specific policies. These regulations may be found on the MSU Web Page under Spartan Life. http://splife.studentlife.msu.edu/

Any behavior that endangers another person or property is of particular concern. The following behaviors may result in immediate dismissal from the program and suspension from your home university:

  • Physical or sexual assault
  • Harassment
  • Possession or use of controlled substances
  • Setting a fire or possession of explosives
  • Possession of a weapon, including BB guns and knives
  • Theft
  • Defacing or destruction of property

Disciplinary actions should be commensurate with the seriousness of the offense and designed for the guidance and correction of behavior. Repeated violations justify increasingly severe penalties.

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