Ship for World Youth Leaders Program


Summer & Winter Schools Trainings & Fellowships

Location (s):

  • Japan
  • Worldwide


Welcome! Ship for World Youth Leaders (SWY) is an exceptional international youth exchange program for the young leaders of the world, sponsored by the Cabinet Office of the Japanese Government.


What's SWY?

The Ship for World Youth Leaders (SWY) program, operated by Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, is a program that involves youths from Japan and countries around the world.

The participants study and discuss common issues from a global perspective and participate in various activities that involve multi-cultural and multi-national exchange opportunities to cultive international awareness and leadership. The program runs for over one month onshore and onboard the ship.

Purpose of the program

In a rapid globalization of today’s world, where cross-border cooperation, coordination, and negotiation are indispensable at every field, leaders who are able to play a key role in initiating globalization are required at local communities as well as international society.

This program aims at having youth having various backgrounds to come together from Japan and around the world, discuss common global issues, have cultural exchange, and join seminars and workshops conducted by experts and participants themselved, and by doing so, enhance ability to deal with different cultures and communication skills and to improve leadership and management skills.

Further, by broadening global views as well as to strengthening their spirit of international cooperation of the participants, the Japanese Government aims at cultivating youth who are capable of contributing to society by exercising their leadership skills in various fields in the globalizing and diversifying society.

Those who joined the program established alumni association (Ship for World Youth Alumni Association or SWYAA) in their respective countries and prefectures, which contributes to establish strong human network beyond national borders.

How the Ship for World Youth Leaders Program started

In 1967, the Japanese Youth Goodwill Cruise Program (JYGC) began as one of the commemorative projects of the Centennial of the Meiji Restoration.

JYGC was a project which provided big dreams and hopes to many Japanese youths where the government took initiative to send youths overseas at the time when it was still extremely difficult for them to go abroad on their own.

At that time, the ratio of the participants was 300 Japanese youth to 50 youth from overseas. However, as the role of Japan in the international world increased and internationalization became a key factor in various fields in the society, the improvement of the international youth exchange program implemented by the Japanese Government was deemed necessary.

Therefore, the JYGC was modified and the program became the Ship for World Youth (SWY) in 1988.

Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

Number of Participants

Approximately 13-15 countries are invited, average of 11 participants from each country.

How Can I Join?

  • First and foremost, you must have a citizenship of the participating countries of the year. There are more than 60 countries that have been invited to participate in SWY programs, and each year around 12 countries are selected by the Japanese government to join the program.
  • Second, your age must be between 18 to 30. Third, the participants should be able to communicate well in English, and also be able to participate throughout the program.

After the Japanese Government has selected the participating countries, the invitation letter will go to each government through the Japanese Embassy in your country.

Therefore, probably the best thing is to get in touch with the ministry which is in charge of the youth affairs in your country or the Japanese Embassy to find out if your country is participating or not and to receive information about how to apply for it.

To find out more, please contact the Japanese Embassy in your country.

Information about how to apply may be obtained from the SWYAA in your country as well.

How does my country get invited?

The Japanese Government decides annual which countries are invited. The Japanese Government will decide the participating countries according to its relationship with the country and with an advise/suggestions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.



Deadline: The application period is open for one or more cycles a year

Cost/funding for participants:

  • The Ship for World Youth program is organized and implemented by the Management and Coordination Agency of the Japanese Government in conjunction with the Cabinet Office.
  • The Government of Japan covers the cost of airfares to and accommodation in Japan and during the cruise.
  • Only a small amount of spending money is needed for free time during port of call visits and to purchase items from the bar, vending machines & souvenir shop on board the Ship.
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