Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Abe Fellowship Program is temporarily suspending the Abe Fellowship and Abe Fellowship for Journalists competitions. Please check back here or contact program staff at abe@ssrc.org or  abetokyo@ssrc.org for updates.

The Purpose of the Fellowship

The Abe Fellowship for Journalists is designed to encourage in-depth coverage of topics of pressing concern to the United States and Japan through individual short-term policy-related projects.

Funding for the fellowship is provided by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.

The Fellowship Research Agenda

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

1) Threats to Personal, Societal, and International Security
Especially welcome topics include food, water, and energy insecurity; pandemics; climate change; disaster preparedness, prevention, and recovery; and conflict, terrorism, and cyber security.

2) 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.

3) 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 underrepresented populations, migration, rural depopulation and urbanization, impacts of automation on jobs, poverty and inequality, and community resilience.

4) 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 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 also pertains to the public dialogue on contemporary social issues.


  • The AFJ competition is open to citizens of the United States and Japan with at least five years of professional journalistic experience with newspapers, magazines, wire services, and online news organizations. Freelancers are also eligible. 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.
  • US-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 nonpartisan.

Fellowship awards are contingent upon receipt of funding from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.

Fellowship Terms

  • 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 stipend is $23,500, which includes one round-trip air ticket, funds to prepare for overseas fieldwork, and support for interpretation. 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 which is held over a weekend in January or February every year. The fellowship tenure may begin between April 1 and December 31, 2020.


The application deadline is September 15 annually. For further information, please contact the program directly at abe@ssrc.org

In the US:

Abe Fellowship Program
Social Science Research Council
One Pierrepont Plaza, 15th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA
Email: abe@ssrc.org
Tel: 212-377-2700 / Fax: 212-377-2727

In Japan:

Abe Fellowship Program
SSRC Tokyo Office
c/o Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership
Shinjuku Gyoenmae Building, 6F
4-16-3 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 160-0004
Email: abetokyo@ssrc.org
Tel: 3-5369-6085 / Fax: 3-5369-6142