1986, on the 10th anniversary of Gesellschaft foundation, the program, “Invitation of young people to Japan” was proposed in order to encourage greater interest in Japan.
At that time, Japan and Liechtenstein do not have diplomatic relationship and Liechtenstein was not included in the same kind of program operated by foreign ministry.
We started the program in 1989. Since then, young people in Liechtenstein from 17 -25 years old have been invited after thesis competition.
In the competition, Gesellschaft presents some theme like “the image of Japan”, ”How do you think about Japanese Economy”. Competition is open to everyone. All the thesis is reviewed by board of directors of Gesellschaft and third parties under anonymity. The fairness of competition brings good reputation for the program.
The winner is awarded the round trip air ticket between Tokyo and Zurich and 6 nights accommodation in Tokyo. On the other hand, the winners are obliged to hand in pre-defined report and evaluation sheet.
The winner will stay in Japan for 2 weeks. During that, Gesellschaft will arrange some visits based on their request. Until now, the winners visited National Diet Library, The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan, the factory of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., research centre of Asahi Breweries and so on.
The detail of program has been flexibly amended depending on the circumstances. At the beginning, applicant eligibility was limited for the person with nationality of Liechtenstein however, that was expanded to the person who has been Liechtenstein over 7 years.
In 2007, further reform was implemented with introducing new programs. Up to that time, although applicants were limited for 17 – 25 years old, we introduced 3 programs below and circle them in 3 years.
Program A: General invitation for 18-30 years old
Program B: Re-Invitation for the person after 7 years passed since last invitation
Program C: Seminar Invitation
In 2014, Ms. Sandra Gerber Leuenbarger was invited under program B. She visited Japan with her husband.