US-Japan Policy Studies

US-Japan Policy Studies

The United States-Japan Foundation supports US-Japan policy-related studies, initiatives and exchanges that help address issues of significant mutual concern to the United States and Japan. The Foundation seeks to respond to policy-relevant needs as identified by experts and practitioners in US-Japan policy studies field and we are therefore open to innovative projects. Policy projects we fund:

Emphasize research over dialogue

Although the Foundation recognizes that frank and frequent dialogue among US-Japan policymakers and specialists is important for the bilateral relationship, we favor proposals containing a strong original research component. Research has a broad meaning in this context. It often includes a structured analysis of data or policies that yields a publishable result and makes a contribution to the body of evidence in support of viable solutions to problems of common US-Japan interest. It could also include visiting fellowships in particular policy areas, study groups or other formats. Collaboration between US and Japanese institutions is encouraged.

Have lasting impact and practical relevance to US-Japan policymakers

The Foundation favors projects that offer practical tools and information of lasting value to policymakers for current and emerging US-Japan-related issues. There is an important balance to be struck between idealistic, long-term planning approaches and the development of practical, short-term policy recommendations.

Encourage growth, education and interaction of younger scholars and policymakers in both countries

The Foundation is always looking for opportunities to help build institutional and human links between American and Japanese organizations, but we favor projects that bring new voices from younger generations into these networks.

Disseminate results widely

The Foundation gives to a variety of US and Japanese institutions in different regions and disseminating project results broadly to policymakers and the general public in both countries (or third countries as appropriate).

Focus on the long term as opposed to addressing the “issue of the moment.” Areas of current interest are:

  • National Interest / Foreign Policy – topics include the US and Japan vis-à-vis the Korean Peninsula and/or China; regional security issues; Confidence Building Measures; controlling weapons proliferation; bilateral security arrangements and policies (with a particular emphasis on US military bases in Japan / Okinawa); managing environment-related threats or crisis; regional peacekeeping; and other related issues that can either threaten or help enhance regional peace and stability.
  • Nationalism(s)/National Identities – projects under this area aim to identify the ways in which national identity intersects with foreign policy making choices facing the United States and Japan as well as the ways in which issues surrounding national identities impact relations between the US and Japan with other countries in Asia.
  • Energy and the Environment – the Foundation is interested in projects that support innovative research on the ways in which the US and Japan can work together to improve local and global environmental issues. In addition, we seek proposals that address long-term energy issues facing both nations.
  • Managing Globalization – despite the potential benefits of growing economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region, adverse externalities are likely unless effectively planned for and mitigated. The issues are both technical (harmonization of rules and standards, developing efficient and impartial structures for oversight and management of finance and trade, forums for conflict resolution, etc.) and more abstract (maintaining cultural and bio-diversity, just and fair agreements for such issues as resource extraction or regional pollution, and managing the clash of different value systems, etc.). The US and Japan have a unique opportunity to be a strong positive influence regarding these issues.
  • Understanding Institutions – both in terms of multilateral (e.g. WTO, APEC, ARF, etc.), bilateral (e.g. US-Japan Common Agenda) and those within the US and Japan (e.g. legislative, bureaucratic, non-governmental, etc.). Studies can be comparative and descriptive: to help each country understand the other and improve communication, trust and institutional cooperation. The research can also be analytical with an eye toward institutional reform or institution building, but there must still be a clear link to the Foundations mission.
  • US-Japan Trade and Economic Relations – emphasis is on Japanese and Americans working together to understand and seek common solutions to potentially contentious issues (e.g. trade imbalance, trade agreements, tax treaties, etc.) and develop policies for mutual and/or regional economic stability and improvement.

The Foundation actively seeks out the best quality projects in service to the Foundation’s mission, regardless of issue area. Therefore, the above Policy Program Description is not meant to be exhaustive or exclusionary. The Foundation is always looking for unique approaches to improving the US-Japan relationship.

For a description of the application process, please click here.

Comments and questions regarding the guidelines are encouraged.

For more information regarding the US-Japan Policy Grant Programs at the United States-Japan Foundation, please contact David Janes, Director of Foundation Grants and Assistant to the President, at or via phone at (212) 481-8757.

Funding Programs

US-Japan Policy Studies“United States-Japan Foundation support for CFR’s project on Japan’s Political Change and the U.S.-Japan Alliance was indispensable to the Council’s efforts to educate Washington policymakers on the dynamics shaping Tokyo’s foreign policy decisions.”

Dr. Sheila Smith
Senior Fellow for Japan Studies
Council on Foreign Relations
Photo courtesy of CFR and Kaveh Sardari.

US-Japan Policy Studies“With this support we were able to commence a critical review of the political efforts and national strategic visions that have not been fruitful during 1990s and 2000s, the era of Japan’s so-called “Lost Decades.” We are extremely grateful for all the assistance of USJF, which has helped make the project possible.”

Dr. Yoichi Funabashi
Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation