US-Japan Journalism Fellowship


JCIE’s US-Japan Journalism Fellowship brings American journalists to Japan to gain a deeper understanding of Japanese policymaking and the dynamics of US-Japan relations. Participants take part in a structured weeklong program of meetings with policymakers, social leaders, and innovators, then stay in Japan for one to two more weeks of individualized meetings and site visits.

At a time when Asia seems destined to play an increasingly prominent role in global affairs, the US relationship with Japan is a key to American policy in the region. This program gives outstanding journalists whose reporting will benefit from a deeper understanding of Japanese politics, economics, society, and foreign policy a rare chance to discuss the pressing issues of the day with leaders from different sectors of Japanese society. By exposing participants to leaders and thinkers with a variety of viewpoints, the program aims to develop a cadre of journalists who have a sophisticated understanding of the complex dynamics that shape US-Japan relations and, more broadly, the US role in Asia. It also helps them develop their professional network with experts in the region.

Hear what past fellows say about their experience...


Seven Decades after the Bomb, Children of Hiroshima Victims Still Worry about Hidden Health Effects

Ibby Caputo

March 26, 2019 | PRI's The World

“Nakatani Etsuko says her father rarely spoke of the day that the world’s first atomic weapon killed 140,000 people in his city of Hiroshima, Japan. But she says he did mention one thing: ‘That there…

Japan Eases Immigration Restrictions to Fill Chronic Care Worker Shortage

Sally Herships

October 18, 2018 | Public Radio International (PRI)

In the past, Japan allowed mostly highly skilled professionals in the country. Now, due to severe labor shortages, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered the government to look into new policies that w…

How a Small Dairy Store from Ohio Became One of the Biggest Names in the Japanese Convenience Store Industry

Adrian Ma

September 5, 2018 | Marketplace

Japan and the United States have a long history of not only economic competition, but also cultural exchange. In the U.S., for instance, sushi and anime are popular. And the Japanese long ago adopted…

Take Me Out to the Japanese Ball Game

Byron Tau

August 24, 2018 | Wall Street Journal

Journalism Fellow Byron Tau dove into the world of Japanese baseball, exploring four stadiums around the country where visitors can take in the surreal rituals of Japanese baseball.

Abe’s Window of Time for Amending Japan’s Pacifist Constitution Narrows

Byron Tau

August 12, 2018 | Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal’s Byron Tau examines Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to amend the country’s pacifist constitution and the political realities he’s facing.

Why This Hiroshima Survivor Dedicated His Life to Searching for the Families of 12 American POWs

Ibby Caputo

August 6, 2018 | PRI's The World

A moving portrait by our 2018 Journalism Fellow Ibby Caputo of Shigeaki Mori, a man who survived the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and made it his life’s mission to seek recognition for the 12 Amer…

Postcard from a Japanese Steel Town

By Adrian Ma

August 1, 2018 | Marketplace

JCIE Journalism Fellow Adrian Ma, a reporter based in the American Midwest, explores Japan’s oldest steel town, Kamaishi.

Tokyo’s Best Karaoke Is Karaoke Sung Alone

Susie Armitage

August 3, 2018 | Daily Beast

A 2017 JCIE Journalism Fellow discovers the joys of “hitokara,” the private karaoke rooms for those who want to sing alone.

Why Japan Is Paying Single Mothers to Move to the Countryside

Susie Armitage

June 6, 2018 | PRI's The World

Japan’s population is projected to shrink by a third by 2065. With small towns getting smaller, local governments are looking for creative ways to bring in new people.

A DIY Sake-Tasting Tour in Japan

Jay Greene

November 9, 2017 | Wall Street Journal

US-Japan Journalism Fellow Jay Greene of the Wall Street Journal explores the delights of Japan’s sake industry.

Microsoft’s Futuristic Headset Strategy: Pilots Over Zombie Hunters

Jay Greene

Nov 2, 2017 | Wall Street Journal

Jay Greene discusses emerging augmented-reality technology from Microsoft and the way it is being incorporated into the pilot-training process at Japan Airlines.

In Japan, these Single Moms and Shrinking Cities are Trying a New Start – Together

Susie Armitage

Nov 2, 2017 | Christian Science Monitor

Susie Armitage writes on the relationship between Japan’s single moms, who face many challenges in Japan’s work culture, and the underpopulated areas that are developing programs to promote relocation…

Japan Exasperated by Trump’s Trade Policies

Adam Behsudi

October 15, 2017 | Politico

As US farmers suffer under high tariffs, Japanese officials are in no rush to cut a new trade deal with the United States.

Japan on Missile Mission to Get 127 Million People to Hide—Fast

Natalie Andrews

Sep 15, 2017 | Wall Street Journal

Natalie Andrews reports on Japan’s efforts to train its citizens how to effectively respond to a missile threat, a necessary process given looming threats from North Korea.

Immersive Learning: A Haunted House in Japan Teaches Citizens Earthquake Preparedness

Taylor Wofford

November 1, 2016 | Quartz

At the Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park, visitors go through an “experience learning facility” where they’re taught how to survive in the immediate aftermath of a major natural disaster. In a cou…

Toilet Power: Toyota Is Using Sewage Sludge to Power Its New Electric Car

Taylor Wofford

September 20, 2016 | Quartz

Hydrogen fuel cell cars could help solve the global warming crisis, but nobody wants to buy them. But Toyota thinks it may have found a solution. For unlimited clean energy, it’s turning to one of the…

LBO Focus: Japan’s Aging Population Burnishes Health Deals

Laura Cooper

September 6, 2016 | Wall Street Journal

The Japanese government realizes the country lacks a sufficient capacity of nursing homes and senior-care facilities. For the past five years, the government has worked to incentivize the private sect…

Dogfights in Japan Are a Family Outing

Taylor Wofford

September 1, 2016 | Newsweek

With a long cultural history and deep ties to the yakuza, dog fighting is a lucrative business in Japan. Laws surrounding the fights are vague and rarely enforced, with members of the Japanese Animal…

There Are More Adult Diapers Sold in Japan Than Baby Diapers

Sally Herships

August 29, 2016 | Marketplace

Japan is now arguably the oldest country in the world. It’s not like you couldn’t see it walking around Tokyo or the countryside. But one of the biggest indicators of this shift is that, with declinin…

Japan's Centuries-Old Tradition Of Making Soba Noodles

Ina Jaffe

August 28, 2016 | NPR

Here in Japan, the buckwheat noodles known as soba are a staple. Nowhere more so than in the mountains of the southern island of Shikoku. The soil there is poor. Buckwheat is one of the few crops that…

How Art Transformed A Remote Japanese Island

Ina Jaffe

August 27, 2016 | NPR

Art can enlighten, soothe, challenge and provoke. Sometimes it can transform a community. Case in point: a 5.5-square-mile island called Naoshima in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, where art tourism has brou…

A Dying Japanese Village Brought Back To Life — By Scarecrows

Ina Jaffe

August 26, 2016 | NPR

Japan’s population is declining. For example, the rural village of Nagoro used to have around 300 residents. Now it has 30. Visitors know they’ve arrived when they see the three farmers in floppy hats…

For Some Older Adults In Japan, A Chance To Stay In The Workforce

Ina Jaffe

August 25, 2016 | NPR

Hiromi Yamamuro is doing something that’s relatively rare in Japan. At age 67, he’s still working in the corporate world, where traditionally, the mandatory retirement age has been 60. But Yamamuro ke…

93,000 People Voluntarily Left Japan for North Korea After World War II. Or Did They?

Julie Makinen

August 24, 2016 | Los Angeles Times

In April 1960, not yet finished with high school, 17-year-old Eiko Kawasaki boarded a Soviet ship called the Kryl’ion in the Japanese port of Niigata and set sail on the journey of a lifetime, to a pl…

Beyond Slurpees: Many Japanese Mini-Marts Now Cater To Elders

Ina Jaffe

August 23, 2016 | NPR

In Japanese cities, space is at a premium. So convenience stores that cram everything from Kleenex to rice balls into a few square yards are everywhere. But they’re not just a place for Slurpees and s…

Japanese City Takes Community Approach To Dealing With Dementia

Ina Jaffe

August 23, 2016 | NPR

No government plan can keep people with dementia from wandering. But health officials in Japan hope there eventually will be entire communities prepared to help keep them safe, if and when they do. Th…

How Japan Is Dealing With Impacts Of Supporting The Oldest Population In The World

Ina Jaffe

August 21, 2016 | NPR

Japan has the oldest population in the world. Nearly 27 percent of the people there are 65 or older. NPR’s Ina Jaffe shares her stories on how Japan is changing as its population grows older.

Flush, then Fill Up: Japan Taps Sewage to Fuel Hydrogen-Powered Cars

Julie Makinen

July 31, 2016 | Los Angeles Times

When Mutsuro Yuji, chief of the central sewage plant in Fukuoka, first heard about the idea of making hydrogen from biogas — the combination of methane and carbon dioxide produced by the breakdown of…

Citizen Science Takes on Japan's Nuclear Establishment

Julie Makinen

July 27, 2016 | Los Angeles Times

As other Tokyo office workers poured into restaurants and bars at quitting time one recent evening, Kohei Matsushita went to the eighth floor of a high-rise for an unusual after-hours activity: learni…

What’s Hot in Japan Right Now? Los Angeles, Circa 1976

Julie Makinen

July 19, 2016 | Los Angeles Times

Julie Makinen highlights the social fascination with a 40 year-old Japanese magazine depicting West Coast life, and how reactions to it have changed or stayed the same among Japanese readers.

As Japan's Population Shrinks, Bears and Boars Roam Where Schools and Shrines Once Thrived

Julie Makinen

July 10, 2016 | Los Angeles Times

In Hara-izumi, there’s no worry about an influx of foreigners. There are no immigrants here, nor the prospect of any. A bigger issue now is wildlife: The village’s population has become so sparse that…

No TPP Trade Deal? Some Japanese Farmers Say All the Better for Them

Julie Makinen

July 5, 2016 | Los Angeles Times

Rice farmer Takao Terada isn’t following the U.S. presidential election too closely. But there’s one issue that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton seem to agree on — that the U.S. should not ratify…

President Trump? Among U.S. Allies, Japan May be One of the Most Anxious About That Idea

Julie Makinen

June 26, 2016 | Los Angeles Times

By Julie Makinen Is Japan gaga for Donald Trump? That was the impression created by a spellbinding YouTube video that went viral last week. Despite the video’s popularity, the reality is that perhaps…

Japan’s Population is Plunging, so Where are the Babies?

Sally Herships

Apr 20, 2016 | Marketplace

Sally Herships analyzes the cultural factors that are contributing for population decline in Japan.

A Vote for Trump is a Vote for China

Isaac Stone Fish

Apr 12, 2016 | Foreign Policy

Isaac Stone Fish writes on how Donald Trump’s policies benefit China and the effect this has on the US-Japan relationship.

Challenges Ahead as Japan Seeks More Women Workers

Sally Herships

Mar 3, 2016 | Marketplace

Sally Herships writes on the conflict between an increased need for women workers in Japan and the multitude of obstacles facing working mothers that keep them from staying in the workforce.

Come on Japan, Get with the Program

Sally Herships

September 21, 2015 | Marketplace

Founding a startup today has become the stuff of TV and movies around the world.  But in Japan today, founding a tech company is not what you might call super popular. Silicon Valley appreciates a goo…

Rebel Without a Country

Isaac Stone Fish

August 31, 2015 | Foreign Policy

Rebel Pepper, China’s most notorious political cartoonist, fled his native land for Japan. But life in exile is tougher than he expected.

How Japan Pushes Coal on the World

Darius Dixon

August 12, 2015 | POLITICO

While the U.S. backs away from its dirtiest power source, its closest ally in Asia is building, selling and financing coal plants worldwide.

Etiquette and Rituals Rule in Japan's Business Culture

Sally Herships

August 11, 2015 | Marketplace

At a dinner meeting in Tokyo recently, two Japanese professors, Ryo Sahashi and Satoru Mori, arrived and sat down at their booth. Even though it meant one of them would shortly have to get up to make…

A Toilet for All Techies

Sally Herships

July 29, 2015 | Marketplace

There’s really no other way to describe them: The toilets of Japan are fabulous. But most U.S. consumers don’t know there’s a whole wide high-tech toilet world out there. It’s something that has to be…

Does Japan’s Conservative Shinto Religion Support Gay Marriage?

Isaac Stone Fish

June 29, 2015 | Foreign Policy

In 1999, a Shinto priest unofficially married two men in a shrine in Kawasaki, an industrial city near Tokyo. Literally “the way of the gods,” Shinto is one of Japan’s major religions, but it does not…

Japan Alone Cannot Guard or Sustain Peace

Isaac Stone Fish

June 19, 2015 | Foreign Policy

When one speaks of turmoil on the Korean Peninsula, it’s usually in reference to North Korea, not South Korea. But Itsunori Onodera, who stepped down as Japan’s defense minister in September 2014, has…


2018 Journalism Seminar | Diversity in the Trump Era

June 29, 2018 |

In a June 29 public seminar, four fellows participating in JCIE’s 2018 US-Japan Journalism Fellowship reflected on how issues related to diversity are manifested in American politics and society today…

The US Presidential Election and Social Diversity—A Dialogue with US Journalists

June 29, 2016 |

A distinguished panel of journalists engaged in a lively discussion on the 2016 US presidential election and how women, youth, and other minority groups are shaping American politics.