International Affairs Fellowship (IAF) in Japan

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, Hitachi, Ltd., 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.



  • 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
  • While 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

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.

“A tremendous opportunity to delve deeper into global issues, yet the profound friendships and network were most invaluable.”— Julia Nesheiwat, Acting Presidential Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs, U.S. Department of State (2009-2010 IAF in Japan)

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.

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. Based on the overall application and the results of the interviews, the selection committee chooses three to five finalists to be fellows. 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.

Total number of IAF in Japan fellows since 1997

Council on Foreign Relations


2018–2019 Fellows

Affiliations at time of award

Mirna Galic, Former Senior Advisor, Office of Afghanistan Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Volker Krause, Professor, Eastern Michigan University

Michael Markey, Political Scientist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Janet Wojcicki, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco

Participants at the annual 2018 CFR-Hitachi Fellows Meeting. Photo by: Christy Bowe 2018
Participants at the annual 2018 CFR-Hitachi Fellows Meeting. Photo by: Christy Bowe 2018

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