As part of the 2013 exchange program, a delegation of six state and local-level US political leaders visited Tokyo, Kumamoto Prefecture, and Kanagawa Prefecture for a series of meetings and roundtables with national policymakers, business leaders, and prefectural and local-level officials. This group had the added quality of being a delegation of military veterans, who took particular interest in Japan’s national security issues and the role of its Self Defense Force.
During the course of their two-week visit, the delegation met with 11 Diet members from both major parties and over thirty prefectural and city assembly members. This included the secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Shigeru Ishiba, as well as former secretary-general of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Goshi Hosono.
While in Tokyo, the delegation’s meetings with party leaders were complemented by discussions on Japan’s foreign and economic policy with ministry officials, business leaders, and Diet policy staff. They also sat down with a journalist from the Nikkei newspaper on the role of the media in Japanese politics and were briefed on the role of the US-Japan alliance in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief by the former Japan ground self-defense force lieutenant general who was the point person in the prime minister’s cabinet office on US-Japan coordination for Operation Tomodachi after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
The trip continued with visits to Kumamoto, Kanagawa, and Sumida, where they were briefed by local-level officials including over thirty prefectural and city assembly members. In Kumamoto, they had the opportunity to sit in on a prefectural assembly session and made a site visit to the Self-Defense Force Camp in Kitakumamoto. The delegation then spent two days in Kanagawa where they observed the inner workings of a local mayoral election campaign and made a visit to the Naval Air Facility Atsugi for a briefing on US-Japan maritime self-defense issues. Back in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, the delegation was then briefed on the dynamics of municipal politics by young and upcoming members of the Tokyo Metropolitan and Sumida City assemblies.
ADAM BUSHEY, Political Appointee, Office of the Governor of New York (Democrat)
EMILY CRAMER, Field and Fundraising Coordinator, Cutler for Maine (Democrat)
JIM HOLDEN, Chief Deputy and General Counsel, Office of the Indiana State Treasurer (Republican)
AILEEN KENNEY, Business Development, The Boeing Company, Washington, D.C. (Democrat)
DANIEL MURRAY, Kansas State Director, National Federation of Independent Business (Republican)
MATTHEW GABLER, Delegation Escort; Member, Pennsylvania House of Representatives (Republican)