The 19th delegation of the US-Japan Young Political Leaders Exchange Program arrived in Japan on November 18, 2000, for a study tour that took them first to Tokyo, then to Yokohama, Nagoya, Mie Prefecture, and Kyoto. The group, consisting of state legislators, party activists, and other state and local level officials, met with a host of Diet members from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), and the New Komeito Party to discuss national-level Japanese politics. Tetsundo Iwakuni, the Vice President of the DPJ, briefed them on his party’s activities and aspirations, Takumi Nemoto of the LDP spoke with them about Japan’s efforts to face the challenges of an aging population, and younger members of the Diet joined the group for a breakfast meeting. The delegation also spoke with journalists, business leaders, economic analysts, and a number of high-ranking bureaucrats from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a well-attended public seminar on their last day in Tokyo, the delegates shared their experiences dealing with a variety of local issues as well as their views on the upcoming US elections.
On November 25, the group visited Nagoya for one day, then continued on to Mie Prefecture, where they experienced everyday Japanese life through a homestay program. After the homestay, they headed to Tsu, the capital city of Mie Prefecture, to discuss the challenges facing local governments in Japan with the prefectural governor and members of the prefectural assembly. The group members were also briefed on the state of the agricultural sector by farmers and officials from agricultural cooperatives, learned about Japanese educational practices during a visit to an area high school, and gained insights into the social welfare system at a senior citizen home. They wrapped up their two-week trip with a brief visit to Kyoto, then returned to the United States on December 1.
STEVE CROSBY, Vice President, External Affairs, AT&T Wireless (escort)
JENNIFER FAUNCE, Member, Michigan House of Representatives (Republican)
KALYN FREE, District Attorney, Pittsburg and Haskell Counties, Oklahoma (Democrat)
KERI ANN HAYES, Director, Chairman’s Foundation, National Republican Senatorial Committee (Republican)
ROCKY NICHOLS, Member, Kansas House of Representatives (Democrat)
MACK PAUL, Chief of Staff/General Counsel, Office of North Carolina Lt. Governor Dennis Wicker (Democrat)