International Affairs Fellowship in Japan

sponsored by Hitachi, Ltd.

The Program

Founded in 1997, the International Affairs Fellowship in Japan (IAF-J), sponsored by Hitachi, Ltd., seeks to strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation between the rising generations of leaders in the United States and Japan. The program provides a selected group of mid-career U.S. citizens the opportunity to expand their professional horizons by spending a period of research or other professional activity in Japan. Fellows are drawn from academia, business, government, media, NGOs, and think tanks. In cooperation with CFR, the program’s sponsor, Hitachi, Ltd., assists fellows in finding suitable host organizations in Japan. A nonexclusive list of cooperating institutions in Japan can be found below.

How to Apply

Interested candidates who meet the program's eligibility requirements can apply online between July 1 and October 31 on an annual basis. Candidates who are selected as IAF-J finalists will be notified in January, with finalist interviews scheduled in Washington, DC, and New York City between January and February. Official selections and announcement of IAF-J awards will be made between February and March.


The IAF-J is only open to mid-career professionals who have a demonstrated commitment to a career in foreign policy and have an interest in U.S.-Japan relations. The program welcomes applicants from a broad range of professional, academic, and personal backgrounds. While the IAF-J is intended primarily for those without substantial prior experience in Japan, exceptions have been made when an applicant has demonstrated that the fellowship would add a significant new dimension to his or her career. Knowledge of the Japanese language is not a requirement. Qualified candidates must be U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are eligible to work in the United States. CFR does not sponsor for visas.

Selection Process

Fellows are selected on the basis of academic and professional accomplishments and promise, the merits and feasibility of their specific research or action proposals, character and personal qualities conducive to promoting cross-cultural communication and cooperation, and the contribution that the proposed research or professional activity will make to the applicant’s individual career development.

The selection process is highly competitive. CFR’s Fellowship Affairs Office processes the applications, and the IAF-J selection committee reviews all applications to identify the most promising candidates. About one-third of the most qualified applicants are selected as finalists to be interviewed by several IAF-J selection committee members. Based on the overall application and the results of the interviews, the selection committee chooses approximately three to five finalists to be fellows.

Fellowship Award

The duration of the fellowship is between three and twelve months. The program awards a stipend in yen, which covers travel and living expenses in Japan. Fellows are considered independent contractors rather than employees of CFR, and are not eligible for employment benefits, including health insurance.

2015–2016 Fellows

Alexandra Altman, Foreign Reserves Portfolio Manager, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Daniel Gallucci, Researcher, Asean Confidential, Financial Times

Sulmaan W. Khan, Assistant Professor of International History and Chinese Foreign Relations, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

Christine Parthemore, Founder, CLP Global, LLC; and Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins University


A list of former fellows can be found online by visiting Historical Roster of CFR’s International Affairs Fellows in Japan.

Cooperating Japanese Institutions:

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA)
  • Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
  • Ministry of Finance Policy Research Institute
  • National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS)
  • Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI)
  • Institute for International Policy Studies (IIPS)
  • Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ)
  • Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)
  • National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)
  • Keidanren (Japan Business Federation)
  • Keizai Koho Center (KKC)
  • Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE)
  • Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training (JILPT)
  • Institute for International Monetary Affairs (IIMA)
  • Keio University
  • Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Tokyo (GRaSPP)
  • Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo
  • Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo
  • Tokyo University of Agriculture
  • National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA)
  • Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS)
  • Canon Institute for Global Studies (CIGS)
  • Meiji Institute for Global Affairs (MIGA)

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