The Ship for World Youth (SWY) programme, operated by Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, is a programme that involves youths from Japan and countries around the world. The participants board the Ship for World Youth, live together, and while on board, they study and discuss common issues from a global perspective and participate in other various activities that involve multi-cultural and multi-national exchange opportunities. The SWY programme which began in 1988, marked its 31st voyage in 2019.

New Zealand is a part of the upcoming year’s SWY Programme for 2020! For the official announcement and application details, keep an eye on this website and our Facebook page!





How often does the programme run?
SWY happens once a year.

Who runs SWY?
The Cabinet Office of Japan is the organising and funding body of the programme.

Which countries get invited?
In the modern programme, the Japanese Government invites ten countries to send delegations. The participating countries change each year. Generally there is representation from Europe, The Americas, Africa, West Asia and the Pacific each year.

How much does it cost?
As a participant there is little cost involved. The Government of Japan very generously covers most expenses. This includes your return airfares to Japan as well as all living expenses whilst in Japan and onboard the ship. Participants are required to purchase travel insurance, national uniforms, gifts, and usually need to take limited spending money for souvenirs while overseas.

Where does the Ship visit?
This changes each year, but the modern programme usually spends a month at sea, with two official international ports of call, and two refueling stops.

How can I participate in the next Programme?
The New Zealand Government will be notified by the Japanese Embassy next time we are invited to participate. The Japanese Government will then liaise with the Embassy of Japan, the New Zealand Government and SWY NZ to promote the program and to seek applications. New Zealand has been invited to participate in SWY32, the 2020 programme, and further information on this is available on our website and Facebook page.


What are the criteria for participants?

Criteria for participants changes slightly from year to year, but the following criteria have been used in the past:

  • 18-30 years of age (or 30+ for National Leader)
  • New Zealand Citizen, and/or similar specifications determined by the Japanese Embassy.
  • Must be able to participate in the entire program.
  • Capable of acting co-operatively and in harmony with delegations throughout the program.
  • Expected to contribute greatly to the various activities for promoting sound development of young people, and representing New Zealand on the international stage.
  • Good command of English for participation in activities and discussion at university level and above.
  • Interest in, or understanding of Japan. Some Japanese language ability may be an advantage.

What kind of activities are there on the programme?

When participants first arrive in Japan, there is usually a short local government programme and homestay in a prefecture outside of Tokyo. This is followed by approximately one week of “onshore training” at the National Youth Olympic Centre where participants will meet each other, begin course discussions and make some official visits to institutions related to their topics of interest. For limited participants, there is also a courtesy call with the Prime Minister and Crown Prince of Japan.

Once getting onboard the Ship, there is lots for participants to do! This changes every year, but there is usually:

  • Lectures and workshops by onboard facilitators
  • Participant led seminars, workshops, focus groups
  • Cultural exchange activities, including dance, music, art and limited gastronomical
  • National presentations by each country – formal, abstract, performing arts and gala/booth/event based
  • Official visits to institutions in during port of call activities
  • Leisure including a pool, restaurant, bar, participant led social activities.

What sort of topics does SWY cover?

Changing each year, some examples of course discussion streams are:

  • Leadership
  • Cross Cultural Understanding
  • Disaster Risk Reduction
  • Community Development
  • Environment
  • Education
  • Soft Power & Diplomacy
  • Youth Empowerment
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Information & Media