Seven local level elected officials and Diet staffers visited Washington DC, Ohio, and New Mexico from September 25 to October 9, 2004, as part of the 19th Japanese Delegation of the US-Japan Young Political Leaders Exchange Program. In Washington DC, they met with Representative Deborah Pryce and Representative Tom Udall, as well as with the international relations staff of Representative Steve Chabot. Chuck Jones, director of Japan and Korea on the National Security Council, briefed the group on US policy towards Japan and US priorities in Asia, and Republican and Democratic party officials outlined their campaign strategies going into the November presidential and congressional races.
The delegation’s stay in Ohio was hosted by State Representative Geoff Smith and began with a dinner with Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Bradley. During their five days in Ohio, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman spoke with the delegates about local-level politics in the United States, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. Moyer explained the workings of the judicial system, and the chairs of the state Republican and Democratic parties described their preparations as Ohio was emerging as a key battleground state in the presidential election.
The group concluded their visit in New Mexico, where they had meetings with Governor Bill Richardson and former governor Gary E. Johnson. Stuwart Paisano, governor of the Pueblo of Sandia reservation, discussed the economic development strategies of the local Native American community with the delegation members, and leading officials in the Bush and Kerry campaign offices briefed the group on state-level strategy.
MASAKI ITO, Member, Katsushika Ward Assembly, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)
NAOKI KAZAMA, Legislative Assistant to Akihisa Nagashima, Member of the House of Representatives, DPJ
RINA OHISHI, Vice Representative, Federation of Gifu Prefecture, DPJ
MASAYOSHI TANIGUCHI, Deputy Manager, Party Policy Research Council, New Komeito Party
YUKA UCHIDA, Deputy Manager, Policy Research Committee, DPJ
HIROYUKI YAMAMOTO, Professional Staff Member, Party Organization Bureau, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
MARIKO YAMAMOTO, Member, Okayama Prefectural Assembly, LDP
HIDEKAZU TAKEDA, Japan Foundation, Center for Global Partnership [Observer]