This eleven-member American delegation visited Tokyo, Sendai, and Kyoto on November 17–29, 1996. Their program began with a briefing by JCIE president Tadashi Yamamoto on the changing dynamics of Japanese society, a theme that ran through subsequent discussions with leaders in politics, business, and the media. Koji Watanabe, former ambassador to Russia, spoke on the changing diplomatic agenda; Keita Nishiyama, a Ministry of International Trade and Industry official, on external economic relations and policymaking in the shifting political environment; and US Ambassador to Japan Walter Mondale and his staff on US concerns and perceptions of Japan in transition.
A general election had taken place in the fall of 1996, and a series of special briefings was added to the program to cover aspects of coalition politics. In Sendai, for example, a multipartisan session on “Assessing the Recent General Election, the New Electoral System, and the Policy Process at the Local Level” was held with moderator Kazuo Aichi, former defense minister and now New Frontier member of the House of Representatives. The Sendai agenda was organized by members of the Miyagi Prefectural Assembly who were former program participants. Meetings were arranged with local business leaders and politicians, including Norio Tejima, chair of the Sendai Association of Corporate Executives, and Shiro Asano, governor of Miyagi Prefecture, and the group also visited schools, civic organizations, and factories.
FAYRINE KENNON, Councilwoman, Minden, Louisiana GORDON LI, Special Assistant, Political Affairs, Office of the President NOAH MAMET, Regional Director of Finance, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee MARK McELROY, County Judge, Desha County, Arkansas CHARLES SEIGEL, Vice President for National Affairs, Apollo Group, Inc.
TERESA DYER, Director of Governmental Relations, Ticketmaster Corporation DONNA FERRARA, Assemblywoman, State of New York WILLIAM HEWES III, State Senator, Mississippi GARY McPHERSON, State Representative, Colorado VINCENT VENTIMIGLIA Jr., Counsel, Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee
MOLLY SPEARMAN, State Representative, South Carolina