From January 15th to the 28th, 2005, the eight members of the 23rd US Delegation of the US-Japan Young Political Leaders Exchange Program traveled to four cities in Japan. They began their stay in Tokyo, where, in separate meetings with five members of the House of Representatives and House of Councillors, they discussed Japan’s changing sociopolitical dynamics and diplomatic agenda. They also spoke in a panel discussion hosted by the Graduate School of Governance Studies at Meiji University before an audience that included professors and local government officials. Representatives from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Toshiaki Miura, editorial writer for Asahi Shimbun, met with the delegates as well, and banking analysts and entrepreneurs briefed the group on Japan’s economic and financial outlook. In addition, the delegation visited the American Embassy and took part in a roundtable discussion with eight local government officials who participated in program visits to the United States from 1999 to 2004.
After five days in Tokyo, the delegates traveled to Yamagata City, where they met Yasuo Matsuura, chairman of the Yamagata Prefectural Assembly, spoke with Yoshihiro Kanamori, vice-governor of Yamagata Prefecture, and had a luncheon meeting with eight Yamagata prefectural assemblymen from all of the major political parties. Before moving on to Osaka, the delegation took part in a home-stay program in Sakata City.
In Osaka, the group first visited Osaka’s prefectural government before participating in a meeting with the mayor. Their dinner was hosted by Osaka prefectural assemblymen, with whom they discussed urban policy and city administration in the prefecture. In Kyoto, the final city of their visit, Kenta Izumi, Member of the House of Representatives, talked with the delegation about his experiences as a Diet member in Japan.
BRONWYN BEDIENT, Program Officer, American Council of Young Political Leaders (Democrat)
CORY BLACK, Board Member, 9th Assembly District Democratic Committee, Sacramento, California (Democrat)
VALARIE McCALL, City Clerk, Cleveland City Council (Democrat)
MATTHEW AVARA, Councilman at Large, Pascagoula City Council, Mississippi (Republican)
CARLOS CASTILLO Jr., Election Commissioner, Douglas County, Nebraska (Republican)
ROB FAIRBANK, President, Politically Direct (Republican)
JEFF M. RASMUSSEN, Commissioner, Cowlitz County, Washington (Republican)
MATTHEW WILBER, County Attorney, Pottawattamie County, Iowa (Republican)
TAMI JACKSON, Senior Manager, Government Affairs, DuPont, Washington, DC (Unaffiliated)