Call for Applications: Western Balkans Meet Japan – A Bridge Into Future

WESTERN BALKANS/JAPAN – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) and the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) are implementing the youth exchange “Western Balkans meet Japan: A Bridge into the Future”on 10-18 May 2021, and invite 11 undergraduate or graduate students aged from 20 to 25 years old, coming from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, to apply for a great opportunity of personal and professional growth.

Western Balkans meet Japan: A Bridge into the Future is a youth exchange program, organized under the MIRAI Program since 2018, aiming to deepen participants’ understanding of Japan and its policy, to promote mutual understandings and reconciliation through intellectual and cultural exchange, and build a basis for future friendship and cooperation between Japan and the Western Balkans.

Due to the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, planned activities for the year 2020 were postponed for 2021. Please note that due to the situation of the pandemic or unforeseen events, the program may be suspended, or the implementation period/format may be changed.

Eligible applicants:

  • Being a currently enrolled student in an undergraduate or graduate program and aged from 20 to 25 years on the arrival in Japan.
  • Living in one of the Western Balkans 6 Contracting Parties and holding a passport issued by one of the WB6 (Applicants who have Japanese nationality are NOT eligible).
  • Having a good command of English.
  • Neither having participated in exchange or similar program(s) by the Government of Japan nor having lived in Japan.
  • Respecting the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation in the Western Balkans.
  • Having a valid passport.

In addition to the above eligibility criteria, it is desirable that applicants have interest in Japan or have been involved in studying or activities related to Japan.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Participants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro also need to apply for a visa to participate in the program. The organizers will inform the selected participants of the application process once decided.


Round trip international air tickets to Japan by economy class, overseas travel accident insurance, accommodation and transportation in Japan, meals during the program, and admission fees for scheduled activities in Japan are covered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (Participants shall pay their personal expenses, including passport, visa acquisition, vaccination, excess baggage charge, travel expenses between their home and the designated airport, and purchase of souvenirs/personal goods before or during the program).

Read the full overview of the program by clicking the following button:


Please check if you are eligible to apply here:


Please click on the button below to access the Application Form and have the chance to be part of the program.


To learn more about two previous youth exchanges, please click the following buttons:


Deadline for applications is 22 February 2021, 23h59 CET Time. Only selected participants will be notified.

Contact points:

Regional Youth Cooperation Office

Nikola Ristić

Communication and Visibility Officer

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Nishimura Misaki



*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence

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