Under the leadership of Catherine King MP, the 12th Australian delegation visited Tokyo, Miyazaki, and Kyoto. In Tokyo, the seven delegates took part in several discussion sessions with leading political figures, such as Shinzo Abe, deputy chief cabinet secretary; Keiji Furuya, senior vice minister of economy, trade and industry; Takenori Kanzaki, representative of New Komeito; and Yukio Hatoyama, president of the Democratic Party of Japan. In light of Japan’s continuing economic difficulties, the delegates were interested in discussing the domestic assessment of the Koizumi Cabinet and its progress, as well as a variety of other issues, including aging, social welfare, medicine, and Japan’s stance on theater missile defense.
After the Tokyo portion of the program, the delegation visited Miyazaki Prefecture, where they met with several local government officials, such as Ryoichi Suzuki, vice governor of Miyazaki Prefecture, and Masanori Kitagawa, mayor of Nichinan City. Their meetings with local leaders focused on several issues, including the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad-cow disease). The delegation also visited Oji Paper Nichinan factory to learn more about the state of local industry.