Connecting People & Ideas to Advance Mutual Interests in U.S.-Asia Relations

Note: Applications closed January 29, 2024.

 

The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and the Japan Foundation launched the U.S.-Japan Network for the Future program in 2009 to foster a new generation of U.S.-Japan specialists. Each of the six existing cohorts of the “U.S.-Japan Network for the Future” program met regularly to build their knowledge of Japan and U.S.-Japan relations, their policy expertise, and their contacts in Japan- and U.S-Japan-related policy and academic circles. The Mansfield Foundation and Japan Foundation are pleased to make this opportunity available to a seventh group of emerging specialists.

Purpose of the Program

The U.S.-Japan Network for the Future program aims to identify U.S.- and Japan-based scholars and professionals specializing in Japan and/or policy issues pertinent to the U.S.-Japan relationship who demonstrate an interest in and potential for becoming policy intellectuals in U.S.-Japan relations, and to support them in this effort. This Network includes specialists from all regions of the United States and Japan with diverse expertise and perspectives who can constructively participate in the bilateral policy-making process in the mid- and long-term and contribute to U.S.-Japan understanding.

This two-year program seeks to nurture new generations of public policy intellectuals working within the fields of Japan studies and/or policy issues pertinent to U.S.-Japan relations that lay the groundwork for a stable and prosperous world, a necessary component in solving the problems of the future. These policy areas include but are not limited to: U.S.-Japan security relations; U.S.-Japan economic relations; regional cooperation; issues where the two countries confront common domestic challenges (such as building resilient and inclusive societies); and issues where the two countries have opportunities to work together to resolve global challenges (such as climate change or food security).

To achieve this, the program will provide an array of opportunities such as: media training and exercises; meetings with governmental officials, academics, think tank experts, thought leaders, and previous cohort members; mentorship through interactions with the Advisory Committee members; and opportunities to discuss and strengthen participants’ individual research interests and activities. U.S.-based participants can expect opportunities that will further enhance the study of Japan within the United States. Japan-based participants can expect opportunities that will expand their understanding of U.S. foreign policy structures and processes.

Eligibility and Terms

All applicants must be currently and actively involved in Japan studies and/or the U.S.-Japan dialogue. The program is targeted towards scholars and practitioners with a professional interest in and engagement with Japan and/or policy issues pertinent to the U.S.-Japan relationship and work experience in policy-relevant fields. In addition to having an interest in public policy, successful applicants will be able to demonstrate their interest in and potential for becoming future leaders in the U.S.-Japan relationship.

The working language for this program is English and as such requires that all members are able to comfortably participate and engage in the meetings and discussions in English. Additionally:

  • U.S.-based applicants must be American citizens or permanent residents who ideally will have working knowledge of the Japanese language.
  • Japan-based applicants must be Japanese nationals.

Because we are seeking to identify a future generation of leaders, our preference is for candidates in the early- to mid-career stage. In the academic context, normally this translates into scholars at the advanced assistant- or early associate-professor levels. Policy professionals or practitioners should have a Master’s degree and at least five years of Japan experience.

Network participants must be fully dedicated to the two-year program and able to actively participate in all scheduled meetings: a workshop in Washington, D.C. (June 2-6, 2024); a weekend retreat in Montana (October 4-6, 2024); a week-long meeting in Washington, D.C. (January 12-17, 2025); a week-long Japan study trip (June 8-15, 2025); and a two-day Washington, D.C. public symposium and current issues panel discussion (June 2026).

Throughout the two-year program, participants will be expected to: develop their network of contacts; engage with other Network members; engage others in the academic and policy fields with what they have learned through the program; prepare for and actively participate in the program’s meetings, workshops, group activities, and Japan study trip; support the program’s larger goals and objectives; conduct independent research on key issues of particular interest to them; produce and seek to publish or otherwise disseminate op-ed pieces and commentary/blog posts on important policy issues related to Japan studies and/or U.S.-Japan relations; and will have the option to be featured in a Mansfield Foundation-produced podcast. Network participants will present their research and discuss current issues during the public symposium in June 2026 in Washington, D.C.

Financial support for those selected is limited to coverage of economy travel, accommodations, and meal expenses associated with participation in all program components.

Applications and Selection

Applications closed on January 29, 2024. Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee which will be selecting up to twelve U.S.-based and up to three Japan-based participants for this seventh cohort of the Network. Participants will be announced in March 2024.

For further information, please contact Juliane Doscher, Program Manager, the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, at jdoscher@mansfieldfdn.org.

Organizers

The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation is a 501(c) 3 organization that promotes understanding and cooperation in U.S.-Asia relations. Maureen and Mike Mansfield’s values, ideals and vision for U.S.-Asia relations continue through the Foundation’s exchanges, dialogues, research and educational programs, which create networks among U.S. and Asian leaders, explore the underlying issues influencing public policies, and increase awareness about the nations and peoples of Asia. The Foundation has offices in Washington, D.C.; Tokyo, Japan; and Missoula, Montana.

The Japan Foundation is Japan’s only institution dedicated to carrying out comprehensive international cultural exchange programs throughout the world. The three key pillars of activities are Arts and Cultural Exchange, Japanese-Language Education Overseas, and Japanese Studies and Global Partnerships. The Japan Foundation has a global network consisting of the Tokyo Headquarters, the Kyoto O­ffice, two affiliated organizations (the Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa; and the Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai) and 26 overseas offi­ces. It facilitates exchange in a variety of fields with the aim of further deepening mutual understanding and ties between Japanese people and the world.