The Global ThinkNet Fellows program was launched by JCIE in 1996 in response to the urgent need for more active participation by Japanese scholars and researchers in international collaborative policy research and dialogue. The goal of this ambitious project was to involve 100 future Japanese intellectual leaders in JCIE projects over the course of five years. Through this initiative, study groups of young Japanese intellectual leaders, generally between 30 and 40 years of age, were formed under the guidance of a senior scholar. The study groups held monthly seminars with resource persons such as political, government, and academic leaders and participated in an overseas group workshop tour. The members were also encouraged to make individual research trips. At the end of their one-year program, they were asked to submit a policy research paper in English. The papers have been published in the volumes listed below, and some also have been published in international academic journals.
The study group projects focused on such topics as the impact of coalition government on the political process in Japan, nonstate actors in international relations, the prospects of ASEAN-10 and its implications for regional international relations and the economy, and challenges facing the U.S.-Japan alliance in the 21st century. In addition to the study groups, special efforts were made to include emerging intellectual leaders from Japan and other Asian countries in all research and dialogue projects of the Global Thinknet Fellows program.