Are you a student from any of the following 12 countries: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia? Japan has long been establishing strong relationships with these countries and currently offers thousands of students and researchers the chance to further their education in Japan by providing them various JICA Scholarship Programs. One of which is the Innovative Asia Program. Recipients of this scholarship can study in Japan for free and receive a sufficient stipend from the host organization.

What is JICA? 

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is one of the organizations that is committed to encourage students from various Asian nations to pursue their higher education in Japan. The most common scholarship programs offered by JICA are as follows:

  • Innovative Asia Program (details below)
  • Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship (JDS). Check out its website for more details: https://jds-scholarship.org
  • Business Education Initiative for Youth (ABE Initiative: African Business Education Initiative for Youth). Check out this link for further details: https://www.jica.go.jp/southafrica/english/office/others/abe.html
  • SDGs Global Leadership Program (For more details about this newly established program, please consult local JICA offices). Please contact information of JICA’s branch offices: https://www.jica.go.jp/english/countries/asia/innovative_asia.html
  • Project for the Promotion and Enhancement of the Afghan Capacity for Effective Development (PEACE): Please refer to JICA’s PEACE Project homepage for an outline of the project’s objectives, and refer to the PEACE Project portal website for further information about the scholarship’s benefits, eligibility criteria, conditions.

This time, we will give you a comprehensive introduction of Innovative Asia – JICA Scholarship Program. Every year, it offers scholarships to nearly 200 students from the aforementioned nations as a part of its Innovative Asia campaign. Innovative Asia is focused on strengthening the circulation of talented human resources between Japan and Asian countries and to promote innovation in the entirety of Asia.

What benefits can you gain from JICA Scholarship?


  • JICA covers all kinds of expenses (tuition, flight costs, books language study, accommodation, and others).
  • Students will be allowed to submit a proposal to JICA to ask for extra financial support for their projects’ research.
  • Different support programs for students as well as the observation visits and internships are sponsored by JICA during your stay in the host university.
  • If the student needs a Japanese language course, the tuition cost is to be borne by JICA including business manner training.

Who is Eligible to Apply for Innovative Asia – JICA Scholarship?

In order to apply for JICA scholarship, you must fulfill the following criteria:

  1. Must be a citizen of one of the 12 countries listed above.
  2. Must hold a bachelor’s degree to apply for a master’s degree or doctoral courses at top Japanese Universities.
  3. Must not be more than 40 years old for both, master’s and doctor’s programs.
  4. Must have adequate English skills in both written and oral communication
  5. Must graduate from one of 60 “partner institutes” of JICA. You can find the list of these universities here. The list includes JICA’s partner schools in your home country; check if yours is on the list!

Since this is a great opportunity for you to enter a top university in Japan, you are highly advised to have a clear understanding of the JICA initiative, its objectives and mission, and passion for contributing to the industry with new innovations. 

Application procedure:

There is no entrance exam conducted by JICA itself. However, each Japanese University applied by the student for the scholarship has a specific deadline for the applications. Thus, students should check the deadline carefully at the university’s website. Applicants are also recommended to follow these steps for a JICA scholarship application process.

  1. Step 1: Review the list of partner Japanese Universities, their requirements for eligibility of scholarship and the selection procedure, at the official websites of the universities, and of JICA as well.
  2. Step 2: After passing the initial screening by the Japanese university,  specific application procedures will be determined and notified directly to you. 
  3. Step 3: Submit the required documents to your chosen university.
  4. Step 4: Once you receive the acceptance and confirmation letter from the university, JICA will assess the student who passed the screening of the university. The applicant must be formally approved as a recipient of the program by JICA and the government of his/her home country.
  5. Step 5: After passing the assessment round off JICA, you will be asked to submit the required documents to proceed to the visa application. 

Please note that JICA will not provide for the expenses involved in the application procedure such as transportation expenses.

Besides the aforementioned programs, JICA also offers different scholarships to students in other countries and regions. Check out JICA’s website for further details: https://www.jica.go.jp/english/index.html