Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated at the Banquet of the 23rd International Conference on The Future of Asia that he was trying his best to strengthen its relations with the rest of Asia. Since education and academic achievement are Japan’s top priorities, the government is actively investing in youth and educational exchanges as a way to build bridges among diverse populations across Asia. While Schoolynk has published a series of information about MEXT (a well-known and prestigious governmental scholarship applicable to all international students), another government scholarship exclusive for Asian students will be introduced this time: AFS Japan Scholarship.

AFS Japan has been appointed by the national Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to run the Asia Kakehashi Project (kakehashi means bridging in Japanese, implying that this is a gateway to cultural exchange and understanding between teenagers in Japan and 20 other Asian countries and regions). 

With the aim of developing the motivation of local students to study abroad and gain global competence while immersing in the rich culture of Asia, this government-sponsored program provides full scholarships for Asian high school students to study in Japan’s public high schools. During the program, you will attend a Japanese high school, make friends with Japanese peers, and immerse yourself in a global environment. In this way, you will be able to improve your Japanese, your academic potential, and your intercultural fluency. This opportunity will not just build a high school network between Japan and Asia; but most importantly, it will also develop leaders who can bridge countries despite their diversity.

Photo retrieved from Gaijinpot

General Information

  • AFS Japan manages all aspects of the program, including arranging accommodation, providing intercultural training and supporting students as they adjust to living in a new country.
  • Students are selected based on academic achievement, financial need, interest in Japanese language and culture, as well as potential to be future leaders.
  • The applicant must follow AFS’s rules and participation agreement.
  • AFS has the right to cancel or suspend the program anytime if the applicant violates the conditions.
  • The chosen applicants will receive a certificate of program completion at the end of the program.
  • The applicant is expected to write 2 reports to inform his or her own progression, one is during the program and the other is after program completion (optional but highly recommended).
  • Priority will be given to students of families with low incomes.


Applicants to the Asia Kakehashi program must meet the following criteria:

  • Between 15 and 18 years of age
  • Non-formal education or homeschooling are NOT accepted
  • Highly motivated, high-achieving students
  • Have excellent academic records, a strong desire to study abroad and motivation to participate in school-based activities. 
  • Learners of Japanese
  • Able and willing to travel abroad unaccompanied
  • Not a former participant in the ASIA KAKEHASHI program before
  • Citizen of one of the following countries/regions at the time of application: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam.


The scholarship covers domestic and round-trip airfare, dormitory fees, school expenses, health insurance in Japan and all other program costs.

Expenses not covered by the scholarship include are but not limited to

  • Vaccinations and other medical examinations and documentation
  • Travel expenses to the regional Japanese consulate to obtain a visa
  • Additional spending money
  • Fees for additional or oversized luggage


Students on the Asia Kakehashi program will stay in dorms or with host families. Participants cannot choose their accommodation. Short-term host families will be arranged during holidays and vacations for participants who are placed in dorms.


All participants will be supported by AFS Japan’s experienced local volunteers and professional staff. AFS will organize cultural orientations and other local activities. All students will attend carefully chosen high schools that AFS works closely with.

Program Dates

  • 2020: April 2020 to February 2021
  • 2021: April 2021 to February 2022
  • 2022: April 2022 to February 2023

Please note that application dates depend on the country you are coming from. 

Application Period

1. Go to your country’s AFS website. (Check the link below)
2. Download the application form in PDF format and complete the form
2.1. Your photo (stick it in the form)
+ Colored or black & white
+ Student uniform wearing
+ Taken within last 6 months
+ No glasses
+ No head covering
2.2. Copy of ID or Passport (showing name and date of birth)
2.3. Transcripts
– If you are in 9th grade, transcripts of 7th and 8th are required
– If you are in 10th grade, transcripts of 7th, 8th, and 9th are required
– If you are in 11th grade, transcripts of 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th are required
– If you are in 12th grade, transcripts of 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th are required
2.4. One family photo
2.5. One photograph of your house/ place
2.6. Letter for Proof of parent salary statement
2.7. Any documents showing your special abilities/ skills.
3. Submit the application form and supporting documents at each local country’s email.

Are you excited to be a representative of your country in a group of 1,000 lucky recipients of the award? Check out the following websites for further details about AFS organizations for your country/region right now!