On April 28–May 11, 2012, six Japanese local legislators and political party staff members traveled to Washington DC and to the states of Tennessee and Washington as part of the 24th Japanese delegation to the United States of the US-Japan Young Political Leaders Exchange Program. While in Washington DC, the group visited the US Capitol and discussed US politics with leaders from the Democratic National Committee and from the Young Republicans and Young Democrats of America. The timing of the group’s visit in the spring of a primary election year led to discussions about how the two US political parties are preparing for the fall presidential election. They also had a meeting on US foreign policy at the State Department as well as other meetings on topics including US international trade, lobbying in the United States, and government communications.
While in DC, they met with ACYPL alumni to Japan Linda Donovan, President, The Semans Company; Sharon Yanagi, Chief of Staff to Undersecretary, Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce; Niels Holch, Partner, Holch + Erickson, LPP; and Earl Adams, Counsel, Litigation and Government Affairs, DLA Piper. On their final day, the group spoke with Japanese Ambassador to the United States Ichiro Fujisaki about the current state of US-Japan relations.
After Washington DC, the delegation traveled to Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee, where the group was hosted by ACYPL alumnus Gregory Gleaves, executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party. They explored the US state-level political system and political parties through meetings with state officials such as Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives Beth Harwell as well as other top Tennessee state leaders. The group also met Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton and toured some of important cultural sites of Memphis, including the Civil Rights Museum, where they were met by Tennessee House of Representatives Member Antonio “2 Shay” Parkinson. While in Tennessee, the group met with ACYPL alumni to Japan Hon. Ryan Williams, Member, Tennessee House of Representatives and Hon. Steve McDaniel, Deputy Speaker, Tennessee House of Representatives.
The group then departed for Spokane and Seattle, Washington, where they were hosted by ACYPL alumni Pend Orielle County Auditor Marianne Nichols and King County Council member Joe McDermott. Their stay included meetings with several Washington state representatives as well as Spokane Mayor David Condon and King County Executive Dow Constantine. In addition, the group discussed the role of think tanks in American policymaking at the Washington Policy Center in Seattle and visited the Port of Seattle, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Microsoft before returning to Japan.
TAKAHIRO AKAGAWA, Policy Secretary to Member of the House of Councillors Misako Yasui (DPJ)
KOTARO ISHIGE, Councilman, Kodaira City (DPJ)
MATSUJI NAKAIZUMI, Member, Akita Prefectural Assembly (LDP)
KENJI SHINOHARA, Chief Clerk, Press System Department, Komei Shimbun (New Komeito)
YUMIKO URATA, Member, Kumamoto Prefectural Assembly (LDP)
TAISHI YAYAMA, Manager, Research Department, DPJ Headquarters