Founded in 1997, the International Affairs Fellowship (IAF) in Japan, 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 enables mid-career professionals and scholars to carry out research at host institutions in Japan and to establish long-term professional and personal ties through their activities. Individuals from academia, business, government, media, NGOs, and think tanks are encouraged to apply. Prior experience in Japan is not required.
Hear From Past International Affairs Fellows
"We see the folks that really have a huge impact on the conversations that we are having, the questions that we are asking, and the direction that we are headed,” says historian Melissa Jane Taylor about her experience as a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow. Described as the “Jewel of the Council,” the International Affairs Fellowship (IAF) programs aim to bridge scholarship and practice by giving participants transformative opportunities to work in a new environment they will give them a different perspective at a critical point in their careers. Whether at home in the United States, or abroad in Canada, Europe, Indonesia, and Japan, fellows work in government, international organizations, and think tanks and universities. Join the more than 650 alumni–including Condoleezza Rice and Samantha Power–in shaping the field of foreign policy and the world.
- Applicants must be U.S. citizens.
- Applicants must be mid-career professionals.
- Applicants must have a strong record of professional achievement.
- Applicants must have an interest in U.S.-Japan relations.
- Applicants must hold at least a bachelor's degree.
- Applicants must have a U.S. passport, valid through six months after the fellowship end date.
The program does not fund pre- or postdoctoral research, work toward a degree, or the completion of projects on which substantial progress has been made before the fellowship begins. Although the program is intended primarily for those without experience in Japan, applicants with experience will be considered if they can demonstrate that the fellowship would add a significant new dimension to their career. Knowledge of the Japanese language is not a requirement.
The fellowship is between three and twelve months. The program awards a monthly stipend of $7,700 along with a $5,000 travel grant. Fellows are considered independent contractors rather than employees of CFR and are not eligible for employment benefits, including health insurance.
CFR will assist fellows in finding a host organization that matches their proposed work in Japan. A nonexclusive list of cooperating institutions in Japan can be found below. CFR cannot guarantee placement at any specific agency or organization. The fellowship is intended as an in-person experience; fellows should expect to work on-site with their host organization in Japan at least three days per week.
Selection as an IAF in Japan is based on the following criteria:
- scholarly qualifications
- professional experience
- a demonstrated interest in U.S. Japan relations
- the merits and feasibility of a research project on some aspect of Japan’s economy, politics, or society, or on some aspect of U.S.-Japan relations
- character and personal qualities conducive to promoting cross-cultural communication and cooperation
- the contribution the fellowship will make to the applicant’s career development
The selection process is highly competitive. A selection committee reviews all applications and selects the most promising applicants for interviews. The selection committee typically awards three to five fellowships each year. Strong preference is given to candidates who have never received a CFR fellowship.
How to Apply
Interested candidates who meet the program’s eligibility requirements can apply online between August 15 and October 31, 2024, for the 2025–26 fellowship cycle.
Affiliations at the time of the award
Associate Professor, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Assistant Professor of Strategic Studies, Naval Post Graduate School
Associate Professor, Columbia University
Program Officer, Yokosuka Council on Asia-Pacific Studies
A complete list of former International Affairs Fellows in Japan is available here.
Cooperating Japanese Institutions (nonexclusive list)
- 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)
For more information, please contact [email protected]