Nine of Australia’s political leaders, including young legislators, party officials, and parliamentary staff, traveled to Japan for a ten-day study tour of Tokyo, Tottori, and Kyoto as part of the Australia-Japan Young Political Leaders Exchange. In addition to enhancing their understanding of the current political, economic, and social environment in Japan and the issues that are facing the country, the delegates were able to exchange opinions with various Japanese leaders on the ways in which Japan and Australia might work together to meet the challenges that lie ahead for Asia Pacific.
The group spent roughly one week in Tokyo, meeting with Cabinet ministers, Diet members, ministry officials, and leaders from the business world. Discussions focused on the Japanese government’s strategy to lift the country out of the recession, to institute financial reforms, and to cope with the graying society and other policy issues. These meetings offered the participants insights into the dramatic changes occurring in Japan, including the progres toward greater deregulation and the changing role of politicians in the Japanese policy-making process.
The delegation’s visit to Tottori Prefecture was arranged with the help of the leader of the Japanese delegation that visited Australia in 1998, Rep. Shigeru Ishiba. Through meetings with such local leaders as the Tottori prefectural governor, the mayors of Tottori City and Misasa Town, the chairman of the Tottori Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the speaker of the Prefectural Assembly, the participants gained a unique perspective on regional politics in Japan and the trend toward devolution of authority to local governments.
ROSS CAMERON, Member for Parramatta, New South Wales, Federal Parliament
PENNY BEEHAN, Member of Queensland Liberals State Executive
SIMON O’BRIEN, Member of the Legislative Council of the Western Australia Parliament
JOHN TEMPLE, Chairman of the Bass Electorate, Vice President of the Tasmanian Division
Australian Labor Party
SIMON BANKS, Senior Political Advisor to the Shadow Attorney General and Minister for Justice
CARLO CARLI, Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Victorian Parliament
ALISON WEBSTER, Assistant to Campaign Director in the ALP National Secretariat
FIONA BRENNAN, Private Secretary to the Hon. Bruce Scott MP
Australian Political Exchange Council