The International Youth Exchange Organization of Japan (IYEO) was established in 1959 by ex-participants of international youth exchange programs sponsored by Cabinet Office of the Japanese government. Among those programs were Japanese Youth Goodwill Mission, Japanese Goodwill Cruise, Ship for Southeast Asian Youth, Japan-Brazil Youth Friendship Exchange, Japan-China Youth Friendship Exchange, Friendship Mission to Oman, Japan-Korea Youth Friendship Exchange, Ship for World Youth, and the International Youth Development Exchange. IYEO members number up to approximately fourteen thousand
In 1961, the Seiyu-kai began its operation as an alumni association for ex-participants of the Japanese Goodwill Mission. In 1968, Seinen-no-fune-no-kai was organized by ex-participants of Japanese Goodwill Cruise. In 1985, to consolidate the position as an active organization, Japanese Youth Goodwill Mission Seiyu-kai and Seinen-no-fune-no-kai were united into the International Youth Exchange Organization of Japan.
Purpose and Organization
The IYEO prescribes its code, “Based on the resources gained from international youth exchange programs, IYEO deepens international understandings and contributes to international friendship. Through the activities, IYEO renders services to society in wider fields and strives for mutual exchange among members and study for members.” In order to achieve this goal, there exist 47 local organizations in all the 47 prefectures.
In most cases, these organizations operate as International Youth Exchange Organization of the respective prefecture. However, some groups use their original names or are under different names when they were united with an alumni association of international youth exchange programs sponsored by their local bodies. All of the organizations in the 47 prefectures are registered as member organizations of the “Center for International Youth Exchange” which is a non-profit corporation.
The headquarters of IYEO promotes mutual understanding and communication among members and helps prefectural organizations to perform various activities smoothly. At the same time, it aims to strengthen ties with foreign ex-participants of Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program, Ship for World Youth, and such.
The main activities of each prefectural organization are to contribute to the promotion of international youth exchange in the local district, to extend its social services to wider extent, and to cooperate for the improvement of international youth exchange programs sponsored by the Cabinet Office.
The IYEO holds a system to actively support the post-program activities of ex-participants as well as local activities in order to enrich international exchange. IYEO has long been making efforts to be appointed as a legal body. Its purpose was recognized and the establishment of Center for International Youth Exchange was permitted by the Japanese government in April 1994.
From now on, the IYEO will actively take part in international exchange activities in a close cooperation with Center for International Youth Exchange so as to contribute to the society.