Frequently Asked Questions

What is the United States-Japan Foundation?
A: The United States-Japan Foundation is a private American foundation headquartered in the State of New York with a branch office in Tokyo that is dedicated to improving ties between Americans and Japanese. It makes grants in three areas: pre-college education, communication/public opinion, and US-Japan policy studies. In addition, the Foundation created and directs the United States-Japan Leadership Program as well as the Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award. The Foundation also bestows its prestigious Distinguished Service Award upon Americans and Japanese who have dedicated a significant part of their lives to deepening US-Japan relations. The Foundation is a non-governmental organization and is not connected to any government agency in the U.S. or Japan. In addition, the Foundation has no formal ties with any other foundation or institution in the U.S. or Japan.
How do you I apply for grant from the United States-Japan Foundation?
The formal first step in applying for a grant from the Foundation is to submit a letter of inquiry (3-4 pages) vie e-mail or regular mail. This document should clearly express your project’s goals and how the project will enhance US-Japan relations and understanding. In addition, the inquiry letter should indicate the amount of funds you hope to request from the United States-Japan Foundation. Deadlines for the submission of these letters generally are in mid-December and mid-July. The Foundation welcomes phone calls and e-mails from prospective grantees to discuss their projects at anytime. Full proposals should only be submitted upon the invitation of the Foundation. Uninvited full-proposals will not be considered.
Should I submit by inquiry letter of full proposal in English or Japanese?
A: Letters of inquiry from Japanese non-profit organizations may be submitted to the Tokyo office in Japanese, although generally speaking English is preferred. US non-profit organizations should submit their letters of inquiry in English to the New York office. Full proposals must be submitted in English by all organizations.
Whom should I contact to discuss my prospect grant project?
Non-profit organizations located in the United States should contact the Director of Foundation Grants and Assistant to the President, Mr. David P. Janes, in the New York Office (see contact information to reach him). Non-profit organizations located in Japan should contact Mr. Tomoyuki Watanabe, Japan Representative, in the Foundation’s Tokyo office (see contact information to reach him).
Does the United States-Japan Foundation have specific project concepts it seeks to support?
The Foundation operates with the understanding that experts in the field have a deep sense of critical issues in the US-Japan relationship in need of support. While our staff and board consists of experts in the US-Japan relationship, we look to those approaching us to make convincing arguments as to the significance of the projects for which they seek funding. Therefore, we generally do not put out requests for proposals for specific project areas as we wish to remain open to innovative and important projects at all times.
Is the United States-Japan Foundation the same organization as The Japan Foundation?
No. These are two separate and distinct grant-making foundations. The Japan Foundation is a worldwide organization supported by the people of Japan. It has an excellent web site that provides detailed information on The Japan Foundation and its programs.
For a history of the United States-Japan Foundation, please click here.
Is the United States-Japan Foundation connected to the Nippon Foundation?
A: No. While the initial source of financial support for the Foundation was from the Nippon Foundation and Sasakawa Ryoichi, the Foundation is completely independent and maintains no ties with the Nippon Foundation or its affiliates.
What other foundations fund projects that focus on US-Japan relations?
A: In addition to the United States-Japan Foundation, the Japan-US Friendship Commission and the Japan Foundation have funded projects that broadly aim to improve US-Japan relations. In addition, the Asian Cultural Council funds arts related projects that enhance US-Japan relations. The United States -Japan Foundation has listed these organizations for informational purposes only.
I am a teacher looking for educational materials on Japan for my classes. Where should I look?
A: As a starting point, please see the list of Recent Grants for organizations in your area, or those with web-based resources, that may be able to help you. You might also wish to consult the List of US-Japan Resources for links to several major clearinghouses of information on US-Japan topics.
I would like to contact other educators who have experience teaching about Japan. Do you have any suggestions?
A: As a starting point, please see the list of Recent Grants for organizations in your area, or those with web-based resources, that may be able to help you. You might also wish to consult the List of US-Japan Resources for links to several major clearinghouses of information on US-Japan topics.
Can I apply for a multi-year grant?
A: The Foundation only makes grants on an annual basis. Proposals can indicate an interest in multi-year funding, but should focus on one year at a time. Approved projects that initially indicated an interest in multi-year support would need to submit renewal proposals for future support.
Does the Foundation fund projects outside of the US or Japan?
A: No. The Foundation only funds non-profit organizations legally incorporated in the United States and/or Japan. We do not consider or respond to inquiries made from entities outside of these countries.
What amount of overhead does the Foundation allow for grants?
A: The Foundation will only allow a maximum of 10% of a grant to be utilized for overhead costs. We appreciate non-profits and educational institutions that waive or reduce these costs below 10%, as it is a sign of support for the projects submitted to the Foundation.
What is the length of time that grantees must maintain grant-related materials?
A: We require that all grantees maintain financial documents related to grants for a period of seven years.