Illuminating Today's Japan for American Audiences - 2017


One U.S.-based journalist will be selected for a 19-day reporting trip in Japan, to be conducted throughout the fall of 2017, in the fifth year of ICFJ's "Illuminating Today's Japan for American Audiences" program. The participating journalist will work with an experienced Japanese interpreter and fixer, and are expected to dig into the economic, social, cultural, environmental and energy-policy challenges facing the country.

Although the world is interconnected as never before, international news coverage is likely at an all-time low. As important as Japan is in the constellation of U.S. relationships abroad, Japan’s appearances in the news reflect neither its global importance nor that of the Japan-U.S. relationship. This program, organized by ICFJ and funded by the Sasakawa Foundation, will help to make independent coverage of neglected issues possible. As a result of this program, American audiences will receive fresh, innovative coverage of topics that highlight Japan.

Former participants have produced stories for media outlets including McClatchy, NPR, Al Jazeera America and more.

Rob Hotakainen, a 2014 program participant, interviewing Shoichi Mizuno, president of Northern World, fur shop in Asakusa, Tokyo.

The participant will be selected based on the quality of story idea, as the story should have immediate relevance to the journalist’s own community. Examples of issues that journalists could explore include business, trade, energy, culture, immigration and climate change. Other key considerations include the journalists’ professional qualifications, level of experience and their media organization’s audience.

PHASE 1: Program Orientation: Late August/early September 2017

Before the selected journalist travels to Japan to begin reporting, ICFJ program staff, the participant and the Japanese fixer and interpreter will convene in a series of web conferences using Google Hangout. These opportunities will acquaint the journalist with one another and the Japanese interpreter-fixer who will assist him/her during his/her 19-day reporting tour. The Google Hangout sessions will also offer an opportunity to discuss the journalist’s story ideas, suggest ways to fine-tune his/her approach, determine his/her travel schedule, and identify key people to interview. ICFJ program staff will assist with travel arrangements, visas and other logistics. Orientation will take place in September 2017.

PHASE 2: Individual Travel and Tour: mid-September - December 2017

After the orientation program, the journalist will depart for his/her 19-day reporting tour accompanied by an experienced Japanese reporter and journalist. The participant will work with the Japanese expert to organize necessary meetings and plan travel around Japan.

PHASE 3: Return and completion of reporting: December 2017 - March 2018

After the American journalist returns home, s/he will complete his/her story for publication or broadcast. ICFJ will use its own website to promote the stories The journalist is expected to publicize his/her story via social media and professional connections.

The applicant’s topics for reporting must be in line with the objectives of the fellowship:

  1. Increase media coverage of key issues in the US-Japan alliance
  2. Educate members of the media on important issues in Japan and their connection to the U.S.
  3. Bridge the gap between local U.S. cities/industries and Japan

Applicants must have a guarantee that at least one report or article will be broadcasted/published by U.S. media.

To submit your application, click here. Only completed applications will be considered.