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International Affairs Fellowships & International Affairs Fellowships in Japan

Council on Foreign Relations


In 1997, the Council on Foreign Relations established the International Affairs Fellowship in Japan, sponsored by Hitachi, Ltd., to enable a number of outstanding young American leaders and thinkers to expand their intellectual and professional horizons through an extended period of research or related professional activity in Japan. Officially known as the International Affairs Fellowship in Japan, or informally as "the Hitachi Fellowship," the program seeks to contribute to American understanding of Japan and to improved communication among emerging leaders in the two countries.

The goal of the Hitachi Fellowship is to strengthen the U.S.-Japan relationship by expanding American understanding of Japan and enhancing communication among Americans and Japanese on global problems. In this context, the program seeks to address the continuing imbalance in opportunities for Americans and Japanese to get to know each other's societies and cultures. Tens of thousands of Japanese come to the United States each year to study and work, but only a small number of Americans study or work in Japan. Although this imbalance is difficult to redress on a quantitative basis, the Hitachi Fellowship program seeks to have a positive impact by giving Americans with great leadership capacity the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of Japan and to develop close relationships with their Japanese counterparts.

To achieve these objectives, great emphasis is placed in the design of the program on ensuring (1) that the selection process attracts the best qualified candidates; (2) that the selected fellows spend an adequate period of time in Japan to achieve the program's purposes; and (3) that they have the opportunity to work together with leaders in their respective fields in Japan.

The basic term of the fellowship is one year, with a minimum of three months to pursue a program of the fellows' own design consisting of policy oriented research or related professional activity. (see Eligibility) To assure that the fellows spend their time in Japan fruitfully and come into contact with their professional peers, the Council assists Fellows in arranging affiliation with academic, governmental, or private sector institutions in Japan appropriate to their professional interests (see Cooperating Japanese Institutions). Hitachi, Ltd. assists the fellows, as requested, in locating housing and getting settled in the Japanese environment (see Living in Japan).


The Hitachi fellowship provides a stipend of 25,000 yen per day, or 750,000 yen per month. As a Fellow, you will also receive a research allowance of 50,000 yen per month to cover research expenses, local travel, health insurance premiums and miscellaneous expenses. In addition, Fellows receive an international travel allowance of $5,000.

The Council issues a US dollar check for the travel allowance prior to your departure for Japan. The stipend and research allowance are paid by the Council in yen. It is a good idea to open a bank account in Japan as soon as you arrive in order to receive and use the Fellowship funds (see Bank Accounts in Japan).

We calculated the stipend to cover the reasonable living expenses of an individual temporarily residing in Japan. The costs of maintaining a family in Japan can be quite high, especially in the Tokyo area. In some cases, less expensive housing may be available through particular host institutions (e.g. visiting faculty housing).

The $5,000 travel allowance, which is roughly the cost of a single round-trip ticket to Japan in business class may be used to cover two or more round trips at economy or discounted fares and may be used for the travel of family members. You are responsible for purchasing your own travel insurance, if desired.


Selection Criteria: Hitachi Fellows must be American citizens between the ages of 27 and 45. They may be drawn from academia (including think tanks), government (including the executive and legislative branches at both the federal and state levels), business or the media. The program is intended for non-specialists in Japan; in exceptional cases, however, the Council may select people with substantial prior experience in Japan, e.g. where the selection committee considers that the Hitachi Fellowship would add a significant new dimension to a candidate's career. Fellows will be selected on the basis of their academic and professional accomplishments and promise, the merits of their specific research or action proposals, and on the basis of personal qualities conducive to promoting cross-cultural communication and cooperation. Knowledge of the Japanese language is not a requirement.

The program does not fund pre- or post-doctoral scholarly research, work toward a degree, or the completion of projects on which substantial progress has been made prior to the Fellowship period.
Applicants may be considered for an International Affairs Fellowship in Japan, a general International Affairs Fellowship, or some combination of the two, as appropriate to the applicant's research or professional objectives.


Review & Selection Schedule

* Deadline for Nominations: September 19, 2005

* Applications Distributed: Sept.-Oct. 2005

* Applications Due: October 24, 2005

* Letters of Support Solicited: November 2005

* Initial Selection Ctte. Meeting: January 2006

* Announcement of Finalists: Late January 2006

* Finalists Interviewed: February-March 2006

* Final Selection Ctte. Meeting: March 2006

* Announcement of Award: Late March 2006


Application will be primarily by invitation, on the recommendation of individuals in academic, government, and other institutions, who have occasion to know candidates particularly well-suited for the fellowship. Others who inquire directly may also be invited to apply without formal nomination. Qualified nominees will be forwarded application forms. Following a preliminary meeting of the Selection Committee, finalists will be interviewed and may be asked to furnish additional material.

All correspondence should be addressed to:

Elise Carlson Lewis
Vice President, Membership & Fellowship Affairs
Council on Foreign Relations
58 East 68th Street
New York, NY 10021
Tel: (212) 434-9489
Fax: (212) 434-9801

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