International Affairs Fellowship in Japan

The Program

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 the opportunity to carry out research at host institutions in Japan and to establish long-term professional and personal ties through their activities. Fellows come from academia, business, government, media, NGOs, and think tanks.

2022 Hitachi Conference Group Photo


  • 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.

Although the program is intended primarily for those without prior experience in Japan, applicants with prior 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.

2021 Hitachi Conference Altman
The IAF in Japan was an incredibly unique opportunity. The ability to work with the Bank of Japan, build relationships, and explore major policy issues—facing Japan and the United States alike—was invaluable.
Alexandra Altman, Analyst, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (2015–16 IAF in Japan)

Fellowship Award

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 work with its network of contacts to assist selected fellows in finding a host organization that best matches the fellow's 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.

Fellowship placement in 202324 will depend on conditions allowing travel to, and residence in Japan.

Selection Process

Selection as an IAF in Japan is based on the following criteria:

  • scholarly qualifications
  • professional experience
  • merits and feasibility of a project proposal that relates to U.S.-Japan relations
  • character and personal qualities conducive to promoting cross-cultural communication and cooperation
  • contribution that 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 four to five fellowships each year. 

The CFR-Hitachi Fellowship is a transformative experience that provides an opportunity to develop deep and lasting relationships in Japan—one of America’s most critical trans-Pacific partners.
Margaret Jackson, Research Fellow, Institute for Energy, Environment and Economy, Tsinghua University (2019–20 IAF in Japan)

How to Apply

Interested candidates who meet the program’s eligibility requirements can apply online between July 1 and October 31, 2023 for the 202425 fellowship cycle. 

2022–23 Fellows

No fellows selected for the award year. 


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)

Contact Us

For more information, please contact [email protected]