On January 12–25, 2008, eight Japanese local legislators and Diet staffers traveled to Washington DC, Indiana, and Florida as part of the 21st Japanese delegation to the United States. While in Washington, the group focused on US foreign policy in meetings with Congressman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alex Arvizu, and it met with key players in domestic policymaking, including White House officials and interest group representatives. Since the visit coincided with the start of the 2008 presidential primaries, they also spoke with a wide range of party activists, campaign advisors, and political analysts, who shared insights into the complex US electoral system and how presidential campaigns are operated at the national and local levels.
The delegation then traveled to Indiana and Florida for a series of site visits and discussions with state government officials, local politicians, business executives, and nonprofit leaders. They were welcomed to Indiana by a wide range of local leaders, including Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman, and they visited a Honda automobile plant and spoke with town officials about differences in Japanese and American public administration at the local level. In Florida, Tallahassee Mayor John Marks III shared insights on the policymaking process at the local level and a group of state legislators hosted a luncheon session for the delegation. The group also exchanged views with students at Florida State University and made site visits to city facilities ranging from a child care center and the fire department to the city jail.
YAMATO AOYAMA, Member, Ibaraki Prefectural Assembly (DPJ)
HIROKI IWAMATSU, Staff, Party Organization Headquarters, (LDP)
RIKA KITAGAWA, Correspondent, Komei Press (New Komeito)
JUNKO KIYONO, Staff Researcher, Policy Research Committee (DPJ)
MASAYOSHI KUBOYA, Assistant to Marutei Tsurunen, Member of the House of Councillors (DPJ)
YASUHIRO MASUJIMA, Leader, Information System Bureau, Information System Department (New Komeito)
SHINGO MIYABARA, Assistant to Kenji Kosaka, Member of the House of Representatives (LDP)
KEIKO OGAWA, Member, Nerima City Assembly (LDP)
TAKASHI IMAI, Chief Officer, Intellectual & Grassroots Exchange Divisions, Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership [OBSERVER]