The 1998 delegation of young Japanese leaders spent their two-week study tour speaking with politicians, policymakers, analysts, and representatives of the nonprofit sector in an effort to gain a greater insight into American politics and policymaking at the national, state, and local level. They arrived in the United States on July 25 and immediately headed for Maryland, where they met with state environmental officials, journalists, and political activists to discuss the challenges facing state governments in the US system. They then spoke with Maryland Governor Paris Glendenning, Lieutenant Governor Katherine Kennedy Townsend, and Annapolis Mayor Dean Johnson about their experiences in government.
On Wednesday, July 29, the eight-member delegation relocated to Washington DC, and visited with a number of Congressional members, including Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, the group’s next destination. While in the nation’s capital, the group met with a variety of officials and experts to learn about the practice of US politics on the federal level. They received a briefing on the outlook for the midterm Congressional elections from the New York Times Washington bureau chief, spoke with representatives of the Concord Coalition and Emily’s List about their groups roles in the political process, and met with top officials from both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Republican National Committee (RNC).
The following week, they departed for Anchorage, Alaska, to meet with local level officials. The delegation was greeted by Anchorage Mayor Rick Mystrom and held a series of discussions with state legislators. They also gained insights into the particular challenges facing the state of Alaska through meetings with representatives of the Cook Inlet Tribal Council and discussions about the management of Alaska’s oil production and oil revenues with environmental activists from Trustees for Alaska and officials from the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, the state’s oil revenue stabilization fund. The study tour was supplemented by a tour of local mining operations and the North Slope area, and the group concluded their trip with a brief visit to Los Angeles.
ISOROKU ENDO, Deputy Director, Political Department, Komei Shimbun
KOJI HANAI, Staff Member, Policy Affairs Research Council, Liberal Democratic Party
YAYOI KONDO, Member, Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly
KAZUHIKO NAKATA, Assistant, Office of Rep. Kiichi Inoue
IKUKO SAWADA, Staff Director, Office of Director General, Treasury Bureau, Liberal Democratic Party
KAZUKI TAKADA, Administrative Assistant, Office of Rep. Banri Kaieda
MIHOKO TAKAHASHI, Staff Member, Public Relations Committee, Democratic Party of Japan
MASATO TOMABECHI, Administrative Assistant, Office of Rep. Nobuto Hosaka