The seven-member US delegation of the 28th US-Japan Young Political Leaders Exchange Program traveled to Japan for a two-week study tour on September 24–October 7, 2011. Over the course of the trip, the delegates met with nine Diet members from Japan’s major political parties, including Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) President Sadakazu Tanigaki and chairman of the LDP Diet Affairs Committee Ichiro Aisawa. In Tokyo, the group met with Representative Muneaki Murai (DPJ), chair of the Special Committee on Disasters and ACYPL program alumnus, for an informative discussion on the Japanese government’s response after the devastating March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami disaster. They also toured the office of the prime minister and met with US Ambassador John Roos at the US Embassy and other senior embassy officials to discuss the current climate of US-Japan relations. In addition, they spoke with Japanese business leaders—including a luncheon seminar hosted by the Japan Business Federation—sat down with an editorial writer from the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, and met with a senior official from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, the group visited the ward of Nerima in north Tokyo, where they paid a visit to the mayor of Nerima City and the Nerima City Assembly. On their last day in Tokyo, the delegation acted as panelists in a seminar on “American Perspectives on US Politics and Diplomacy.” Participants in the seminar included senior figures from business, politics, and journalism as well as ACYPL program alumni.
The trip continued with short trips to Okayama, Hiroshima, Hyogo, and Kyoto. In Okayama, the group visited the Okayama office of Representative Aisawa. They also paid a visit to Governor of Okayama Prefecture Masahiro Ishii and to the Okayama Prefectural Assembly. During their stay in Okayama, the group made a special one-day visit to Hiroshima, where they toured the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and surrounding Peace Memorial Park. While there, the delegation had a moving visit with one of the atomic bomb survivors.
Next, the delegation left for Hyogo Prefecture and Kawanishi City. They met with Vice-Governor of Hyogo Prefecture Kazuo Kanazawa and other prefectural leaders. While in Hyogo, the group also met with some DPJ youth division members, sat down with labor union members from Daihatsu Motors, and had the opportunity to visit a local Hyogo high school. In addition, they visited the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution, where they learned about Japanese disaster management strategies, and the Hyogo Prefectural Police Headquarters, where they discussed countermeasures against organized crime in Japan and the koban police box system. The trip concluded with a historical and cultural tour of Kyoto.