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The US-Japan partnership has often been described as one of the most important foundations of a stable order in Asia. The United States and Japan share a strong commitment to democratic processes, based on open communication and exchange of ideas. To maintain a healthy partnership, a range of actors, from government officials to academics and members of the policy communities need to be involved in ongoing public and private intellectual exchanges.

The New Voices from Japan (Young Japanese Scholars/Experts Overseas Deployment) Program is designed to provide a new generation of Japanese scholars with the skills they need to participate fully in such international discussions. The program grew out of the recognition, shared by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), that younger Japanese scholars often have few of the skills needed for international engagement and thus transpacific intellectual discourse is still dominated by a small group of senior scholars and experts. The result is that American policy and academic audiences have few opportunities to hear about the innovative research and ideas that are being generated by a new generation of Japanese academic and policy experts.

The program will nurture the next generation of Japanese scholars and experts, helping them to develop the ability and connections to participate in Japan-America discussions and debates on topics of importance to research and policy communities in both countries as well as to healthy bilateral relations.

In this program, with funding provided by SPF, SSRC will send three promising young Japanese scholars and a Japanese mentor on a short-term training trip to the US to engage in public lectures, lunch time seminars, and small group discussions at various U.S. institutions. In addition to travel and meeting arrangements, SSRC will provide editorial assistance for their presentation papers and training for public speaking in English prior to their departure to the US.

While the main goal of the project is to provide training and international experience to a new generation of Japanese experts, it will also offer US academic and policy communities an opportunity to hear the views of Japanese experts from the new generation, and will aid in building new pipelines for other US-Japan intellectual exchange programs.