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 provides a select group of mid-career professionals the opportunity to carry out research while affiliated with appropriate institutions in Japan and to establish long-term professional and personal ties through their activities. Fellows are drawn from academia, business, government, media, NGOs, and think tanks. In cooperation with CFR, the program’s sponsor assists fellows in finding suitable host organizations 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 IAF in Japan program is on hold and will not be accepting applications for the 2022–23 fellowship year. The program will resume accepting applications beginning July 1, 2022.


  • 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 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.

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 the selected fellows to place them in suitable host organizations. Placements are made at the discretion of host organizations. CFR cannot guarantee placement at any specific agency or organization.

Selection Process

Selection as an IAF in Japan is based on a combination of 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 to identify the most promising candidates for interviews. Based on the overall application and the results of the interviews, the selection committee chooses three to five finalists as fellows.

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

The IAF in Japan program will not be accepting applications for the 2022–23 fellowship year. Interested applicants who meet the program's eligibility requirements may apply online for the 2023–24 fellowship between July 1 and October 31, 2022.

2021–22 Fellows

Affiliations at the time of the award

Chris Griswold
Chris Griswold

Senior Advisor for Innovation and Industry, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Daniel Mandell
Daniel Mandell

Legal Counsel to the Office of the President, Republic of Palau

David Mazzuca
David Mazzuca

Instructor, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, The Earth Institute, Columbia University

Jacquelyn Schneider
Jacquelyn Schneider

Hoover Fellow, Stanford University

Dawn Uchiyama
Dawn Uchiyama

Deputy Director, Bureau of Environmental Services, City of Portland, Oregon


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

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)
  • 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)

Contact Us

For more information, please contact:

[email protected]