Listed below are common inquiries that we receive from potential USJLP candidates. Please email us if we can assist you with any additional information.
- Acceptance and Deferrals
- Recommendation Letters
- Headshot Photos
- Application Deadline
- Application Submission
- Selection Process
- USJLP Membership
Q: Who is eligible to apply to USJLP?
A: Any American or Japanese citizen between the ages of 28 and 42 on the first day of their first conference (July 21, 2013 for current applicants applying for the 2013-2014 conferences) is eligible for USJLP. Candidates must have demonstrated leadership, achievement, or the potential for leadership in their respective fields. Consideration will be given to men and women from a broad spectrum of careers.
Q: Is country of residence a factor?
A: No. Candidates need not live in their home country to apply to USJLP. We regularly accept candidates who are either permanently or temporarily living abroad, outside of their home country.
Q: Does one need to be in the field of US-Japan relations to apply?
A: No.USJLP strives to bring together a diverse set of backgrounds and specialties in each class and provides a unique opportunity to witness and discuss US-Japan relations first-hand. Expertise on Japan is not a requirement.
Q: As a Japanese candidate, do I need to be fluent in English to be accepted?
A: Fluency is not required, however USJLP conferences are officially conducted in English and we would like for all Japanese candidates to feel comfortable conversing and expressing their ideas in English. All parts of the USJLP application must be submitted in English.
Q: I have a conflict with the timing of the next conference. May I still apply and defer my start until the following year?
A: No. Please apply to USJLP only if there you do not have any known conflicts with the upcoming conference dates. USJLP does not grant deferrals to first year participants. Newly selected Delegates who become unable to attend their first conference must forfeit their membership and reapply to the Program for the following, or future, year.
Q: I know I can attend the upcoming conference, but I am not sure if I will be available the following summer for the dates of my second conference. May I still apply?
A: We understand that it is difficult to predict two years in advance. However, upon acceptance into USJLP, Delegates are only guaranteed seats at the next two upcoming conferences (currently: July 21-28, 2013 in Japan, and July 19-26, 2014 in Seattle). Should a Delegate need to defer his/her second year for any reason, the opportunity to join a future (i.e. 2016 or later) conference will be subject to review and granted on a space-available basis.
Q: If I am not accepted this year, am I allowed to apply again the following year?
A: Yes. We always have many more qualified candidates apply than we can accommodate each year and there have been many cases where we accept a candidate who had applied more than once. There are no restrictions on the number of times that a candidate can apply.
Q: What happens if I am selected and then unexpectedly cannot participate due to a work or personal schedule conflict?
A: We understand that life holds surprises. However, USJLP is unable to grant deferrals to first year participants. Newly selected Delegates who become unable to participate in the upcoming conference due to a work or personal conflict, must forfeit their membership in USJLP and reapply to the Program for the following, or future, year.
Q: Can I have my recommender send their letter of recommendation directly, or do I need to submit their letter together with my application?
A: Sending all application materials together is preferred, but not required. If you expect any portion of your application to arrive separately from the rest of your materials please send a note to email@example.com so that we will be on the lookout for it and know to combine it with your other application materials.
Q: May I submit more than one letter of recommendation in support of my candidacy?
A: Yes, you may. But, please keep in mind that at least one of your letters must be from a leader in your field in order for your application to be considered complete.
Q: I am not able to obtain a formal signed letter or recommendation. Would you accept an email from my recommender instead?
A: It is strongly preferred that letters of recommendation arrive on signed letterhead (as a PDF or hard copy). If necessary, we will accept a letter composed as an email sent directly from the recommender's personal email account. Emailed recommendations should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: My recommendation letter is in Japanese. Is this acceptable?
A: Recommendation letters in Japanese will be accepted so long as a full English translation is also provided upon submission.
Q: To whom should recommendation letters be addressed?
A: Recommendation letters will be reviewed by the Scott M. Johnson Fellows Selection Committee, and so should open with a salutation to the committee. Please also address letters to "The Scott M. Johnson Fellows Selection Committee" at the US-Japan Foundation's office address.
Q: Does my headshot have to be a passport photo?
A: No, it does not need to be a passport photo or one that was taken professionally. Please feel free to submit a self-taken or candid headshot.
Q: Can I send in a paper photo?
A: If you send in a paper application a printed photo may be affixed within the designated photo space on the application cover letter.
Q: How do I embed a digital photo into the application cover sheet?
A: Please download the .doc version of the application cover sheet and insert your photo into the document, arranging it within the designated photo square. Then, after filling out the rest of the cover sheet in Word, please save it as a .pdf or .doc for submission over email.
Q: When is the application deadline?
A: The deadline for the 2013-2014 conferences was Monday, January 7, 2013. Only fully complete applications either received or postmarked by this date will be considered. The deadline for the 2014-2015 application cycle will be announced online sometime in early fall, 2013.
Q: Will my application be accepted even if it arrives after the deadline?
A: To qualify for consideration, electronically submitted applications must have a time stamp showing that submission was made no later than January 7, 2013. If arriving by postal mail, applications will be accepted after the deadline provided that they are postmarked on or before January 7, 2013.
Q: I found out about the Program after the deadline. May I still send in my application?
A: Applications submitted past the deadline will not be considered. However, please do feel free to get in touch with us at email@example.com to introduce yourself and your interest in the Program. We will be happy to contact you once the next application cycle starts up (typically in early fall each year).
Q: Should I submit my application by email as one fully compiled PDF, or in separate PDFs?
A: Our preference is to receive each application section as a separate PDF: 1) cover sheet, 2) CV/resume, 3) letter of recommendation, and 4) statement of purpose.
Q: I have prepared a paper application packet. Where do I send it?
A: American candidates should mail applications to our office in New York and Japanese candidates to our Tokyo office:
US-Japan Foundation, Attn: USJLP, 145 E. 32nd Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10016
US-Japan Foundation, Attn: USJLP, Reinanzaka Building 1F, 1-14-2 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0052
Q: Will I receive a confirmation that my application has been received?
A: Yes, secretariats will send an email acknowledgement of application receipt within five business days after submission. Should you fail to receive a confirmation email within this time frame, please send a follow-up inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Who reviews my application?
A: The Scott M. Johnson Fellows Executive Committee will be asked to present recommendations to the Foundation from among the pool of applicants. Due consideration will be given to diversity of gender, political, regional, social and educational backgrounds. The final decision on Delegates will be made by the Foundation.
Q: How many people are accepted each year?
A: We aim to have an even number of first and second year Delegates for a total of 40 participants at each conference. Therefore each year there are approximately 10 open spots on both the American and Japanese sides. However, the number does vary depending on various circumstances and the exact number of open spots is typically not known until after the application deadline.
Q: How long before I will know the results of my application?
A: Notification letters will be sent out in early March 2013.
Q: What is required of USJLP Delegates?
A: Accepted candidates become a USJLP Delegate upon participation in their first USJLP conference. Each Delegate is expected to attend two week-long conferences: one in Japan (held in odd-numbered years), and one in Seattle (held in even-number years). Delegates are required to participate for the full week and attend all scheduled plenary sessions, group activities and meals. Some may be asked to participate on a plenary panel related to their expertise. Most importantly Delegates are expected to be active participants in group discussions and be enthusiastic about the friendships and learning opportunities that USJLP presents.
Q: Does commitment to USJLP end after completing two years as a Delegate?
A: No. Membership in the USJLP is a lifetime commitment. After completing both a Japan and Seattle conference, Delegates then become Fellows of the Program. Delegates and Fellows are encouraged to remain active by attending and organizing USJLP events, and to stay connected via a mailing list and private member-only resource site. Members are also expected to inform their secretariats of important news and updates, as well as keep their contact info and profile updated.
Q: What are the roles of USJLP Fellows?
A: Fellows often give back by organizing informal gatherings or special opportunities and are encouraged to return as special guests at the end of each summer's conference for Fellows Weekend; a two-day opportunity to bring family members, reunite with old friends, and meet the new Delegates. Fellows are encouraged to help in discovering new young leaders and to contribute to securing the financial future of the Program.