• Kyodo

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Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers has been chosen as one of the recipients of this year’s prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award, known as Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, the foundation that created it said Wednesday.

One of the six awardees for 2016, the government-initiated youth volunteer organization will be honored by the Philippines-based Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation next month for its “idealism and spirit of service in advancing the lives of communities other than their own.”

The volunteer program, established in 1965 and operated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, solicits Japanese people aged 20 to 39 to go to developing countries to lend a hand in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, civil engineering, sanitation, education, culture and sports, as well as planning and administration.

The foundation said that over the past five decades, the program has demonstrated “that it is indeed when people live, work, and think together that they lay the true foundation for peace and international solidarity.”

Five other individuals and organizations from India, Indonesia, Laos and the Philippines also were chosen to receive the award, which was created in 1957 to honor former Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay, who was known for his selfless service.

Magsaysay died in a plane crash in the central Philippines in 1957.

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