A delegation of Australian political leaders visited Tokyo, Kobe, and Kyoto on March 5–11, 2011, to exchange views on the Australia-Japan relationship and to discuss opportunities for greater cooperation on a range of issues. The group, which was the 20th delegation to visit Japan under the Australia-Japan Young Political Leaders Exchange
program, arrived safely back in Australia on March 12 despite the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011—an event of international ramifications that further underscored the need for close cooperation between Japan and its allies.
Led by MP Amanda Rishworth, Federal Member for Kingston, the six-member delegation engaged in discussions in Tokyo with 20 Diet members from both of Japan’s major political parties, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). They discussed foreign policy issues common to both countries, such as security cooperation in the Asia Pacific region, as well as Japanese domestic issues such as the economic outlook and Japan’s aging population. In addition, the delegation met with Japanese business executives, ministry officials, and representatives from Japan’s leading research institutions.
After Tokyo, the delegation traveled to Kobe and Kyoto, where they met with Hyogo Prefecture Governor Toshizo Ido and other prefectural government leaders. While in Kobe, the group visited the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution as well as a local high school.