The US-Japan Leadership Program

Mission and Purpose

The purpose of the US-Japan Leadership Program (USJLP) is to develop a network of communication, friendship and understanding among the next generation of leaders in each country. The relationship between two of the world’s most powerful democracies and economies has become so complex and broad-ranging that it is beyond the ability of governments or specialists to manage. Yet it continues to suffer from misunderstandings, neglect or stereotyped images of each other that arise from our very different histories and cultures.

The Program aims to foster a continuing dialogue among future leaders in a broad variety of professions. It starts this process by bringing some 20 young leaders together from each country for two intensive week-long conferences over two years, with discussions revolving around historical and current issues in bilateral relations, as well as issues reaching beyond our two countries. Through serious conversation as well as recreation and shared cultural activities it seeks to nurture lifelong friendships. The Program is designed to keep the leaders in touch with each other throughout their careers through a dedicated member website and online directory, frequent in-person reunions, and regular contact via members-only online communication groups. To date, 451 young leaders have participated in the Program. The goal is to bridge the gap between East and West that has plagued the world since our earliest contacts.

Participants: Delegates and Fellows

USJLP accepts new participants on a yearly basis to serve as Delegates in two one-week conferences over the course of two summers: one week in Japan and one week in Seattle. Representatives from a broad range of careers, regions and backgrounds are brought together to form the delegation for each conference. Each conference joins together Delegates serving their first year, as well as Delegates returning for their second. Selections are carefully made so that each class contains a diverse and dynamic group of individuals who have a proven track record, or strong potential, for leadership in their field.

After completing two years as a Delegate, participants continue their lifelong membership in USJLP as Scott M. Johnson Fellows (alumni). Fellows are named “Scott M. Johnson Fellows” in memory of former USJF Chairman Tom Johnson’s son Scott, who was lost on September 11, 2001. Fellows are expected to remain active in USJLP by attending and organizing events, staying in touch over a mailing list and dedicated website, sharing news and updates with the community, and keeping their profile information current. Fellows are also encouraged to help in discovering new young leaders and to contribute to securing the financial future of the Program.

Management of the Program

USJLP is the flagship program of the United States-Japan Foundation (USJF). USJF grew out of the vision and generosity of Ryoichi Sasakawa (1899-1995), who conceived of an entirely independent foundation dedicated to strengthening cooperation and understanding between the two countries. Originally endowed by what is now The Nippon Foundation, USJF was founded on October 21, 1980, and is governed by a board of prominent Japanese and American private citizens. It is the only private American grant-making foundation dedicated to the mutual interests of the American and Japanese people.

The Program is managed by the United States-Japan Foundation, with two dedicated Program Directors in both New York and Tokyo. An Advisory Council of Japanese and American Fellows (participants who successfully attended previous conferences in both the U.S. and Japan) of the Program acts as the main alumni voice and lends support and council to the Program's development and activities.

Honorary Advisory Board

Mr. Richard Danziger Esq.
Lawyer, philanthropist, expert on tea ceremony

Dr. Yoichi Funabashi
Chairman, Asia Pacific Initiative

Mr. Scott Oki
Chairman & CEO
Oki Development, Inc.