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Know Your Responsibility

Program Policies and Behavioral Expectations

As a student on a JCMU education abroad program, you are responsible for adhering to the following policies, regulations, and behavioral expectations (and will be subject to the consequences outlined for violating them): 

In addition, you must comply with any behavioral requirements established by JCMU on-site staff members, JCMU partners, and all Japanese laws and local ordinances. 

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Alcohol Misuse and Drug Policy

If you are of legal drinking age in your host country, you are permitted to consume alcohol during non-program hours. However, alcohol must be consumed responsibly and cannot be misused. Alcohol misuse is consumption of alcohol that is or has the potential to be harmful to the individual and/or is disruptive to the program. Alcohol misuse is often a factor in student conduct issues abroad.

The Michigan State University (MSU) Drug and Alcohol Policy applies to JCMU programs. MSU has a zero-tolerance drug policy that prohibits the possession, use, manufacture, production, sale, exchange or distribution of illegal drugs by education abroad participants. Whether a drug is illegal is governed by U.S. federal drug laws, the laws of the State of Michigan, and host country laws. Students should be mindful that marijuana is prohibited on EA programs regardless of any local laws.

Students that violate this policy face removal from the program and disciplinary action upon return to campus.

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Alcohol Safety

Tips for consuming alcohol responsibly:

  • Remember that education abroad is primarily an educational opportunity, not a vacation.
  • If you choose to consume alcohol, do so responsibly and in compliance with local norms. In most countries, alcohol is consumed socially and in moderation.
  • Look out for your friends and do not hesitate to seek assistance for a friend who may be in danger.
  • Research local attractions and activities that are nearby and may offer a safe, fun alternative to drinking alcohol

For more information or assistance with alcohol misuse, please see MSU Olin Student Health Services.

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Additional Considerations

Visa Guarantor

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 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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Consequences for Student Conduct Issues

Should you violate the Statement of Responsibility or any other behavioral expectations outlined by your program, host institution, or host country, you may be subject to disciplinary action including the consequences detailed below.

If you are participating in coursework or other activities off campus, you are reminded that you must comply with the behavioral expectations set forth by both JCMU and your host institution. Be aware that the process for responding to conduct issues may vary by institution or organization and may be different while on study abroad than on campus.

Verbal Warning

Student conduct issues that do not jeopardize the health and safety of the individual or others and do not prevent the program from functioning (for example, tardiness to class or a single instance of rudeness toward a host) may result in a verbal warning being issued. Student services staff will have a frank discussion with you regarding your conduct and will clearly outline expectations and consequences should the behavior continue. The student services staff member will give you the opportunity to respond and to ask questions. The student services staff will inform the appropriate JCMU and/or Michigan State University (MSU) staff in East Lansing. 

Written Warning

Student conduct issues that jeopardize or have the potential to jeopardize the health and safety of the individual or others and/or is disruptive to the program (for example, alcohol misuse or property damage) may result in a written warning being issued. Failure to respond to and correct behavior outlined in a verbal warning may also result in a written warning. The written warning will describe the reported student conduct issue, outline the behavior that must change, and highlight the consequences should the behavior continue. Written warnings will be shared with your home institution.

Removal from Program

If unacceptable behavior outlined in a written warning does not improve or your behavior is such that it is determined that your continued presence on a program is likely to impede the achievement of program objectives, disrupt program activity, or jeopardize health and safety, you may be removed from the program. You will have 24-48 hours to vacate program-arranged housing. There will be no refund of the program fee. 

Your home institution will be notified of your removal.

When removed from a program, you are strongly encouraged to return to the U.S. since the program and its affiliates will no longer have any responsibility towards you.

Campus Disciplinary Action

JCMU or faculty/staff from your home institution may submit a student conduct complaint to the student conduct office at your home institution for possible disciplinary action upon return to campus.

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