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Abe Fellowship Program for Journalists


Application deadlineApplications are closed 
Funding opportunityIndividual Funding 
Benefits$23,500 (restrictions apply)

This program supports individuals conducting contemporary, transnational and/or comparative, policy-relevant research on topics of concern to the United States and Japan. Fieldwork in Japan or the US is required. It is open to those in the Japanese and American academic and professional communities. The Abe Fellowship Program is carried out in cooperation with the Social Science Research Council (SSRC).

Applications were accepted from 2008 to 2019. Fellows who had to suspend their fieldwork due to the coronavirus outbreak have started to resume their projects. Please contact program staff at SSRC if you have specific questions about your project.


  • The competition is open to citizens of the United States and Japan. Nationals of other countries must be permanent residents of the United States or Japan, or have a long-term affiliation with the American or Japanese journalistic communities.
  • Applicants must have at least five years of professional journalistic experience in newspapers, news magazines, wire services, or on-line news organizations. Freelancers are also eligible.
  • U.S.-based applicants with no previous journalistic employment in Japan have priority; Japan-based applicants with no previous journalistic employment in the United States have priority.
  • Proposals must be non-partisan.


  • Fellows are expected to produce an analytical article or feature story that will inform public debate or a policy community. The Fellow and his/her news organization will decide when to run the article.
  • The program provides support for six weeks in Japan or the United States. The term may be divided between the principal destination and another country. For example, for Americans, four weeks in Japan and two weeks in another country in the region, and for Japanese, four weeks in the United States and two weeks in Canada or Mexico.
  • The maximum stipend is $23,500, which includes one roundtrip air ticket, funding to prepare for overseas fieldwork, and support for interpretation based on requests. Fellows may receive salary from their employers, but cannot carry out assignments while on the award.
  • Fellows are required to attend the Abe Fellows’ Retreat (weekend in January or February of every year).
  • The fellowship tenure must begin between April 1 and December 31.

Research Agenda

Applicants are invited to submit proposals on one of the four themes below.

  • Threats to Personal, Societal, and International Security: Especially welcome topics include food, water, and energy insecurity; pandemics; climate change; disaster preparedness, prevention, and recovery; conflict, terrorism, and cyber security.
  • Growth and Sustainable Development: Especially welcome topics include global financial stability, trade imbalances and agreements, adjustment to globalization, climate change and adaptation, and poverty and inequality.
  • Social, Scientific, and Cultural Trends and Transformations: Especially welcome topics include aging and other demographic change, benefits and dangers of reproductive genetics, gender and social exclusion, expansion of STEM education among women and under-represented populations, migration, rural depopulation and urbanization, impacts of automation on jobs, poverty and inequality, and community resilience.
  • Governance, Empowerment, and Participation: Especially welcome topics include challenges to democratic institutions, participatory governance, human rights, the changing role of NGO/NPOs, the rise of new media, and government roles in fostering innovation.

Policy-Relevant, Contemporary, and Comparative or Transnational Research
Rather than seeking to promote greater understanding of a single country—Japan or the United States—the Abe Fellowship Program encourages research with a comparative or global perspective. The program promotes deeply contextualized cross-cultural research.

The Abe Fellowship Program Committee seeks applications for research explicitly focused on policy-relevant and contemporary issues with a comparative or transnational perspective that draw the study of the United States and Japan into wider disciplinary or theoretical debates.

Policy Relevance

The program defines policy-relevant research as the study of existing public policies for the purpose of (a) deepening understanding of those policies and their consequences and (b) formulating more effective policies. Policy relevance can also be found in research questions that are pertinent to understanding public dialogue on contemporary issues of concern to various sectors of society. All proposals are expected to directly address policy relevance in theme, project description, and project structure.