In September 2016, six local legislators and Diet staffers from Japan visited Washington DC, Michigan, and Colorado as part of the 27th Japanese delegation of the US-Japan Young Political Leaders Exchange Program, which is co-sponsored by JCIE and the American Council for Young Political Leaders (ACYPL).
The trip, which came at the height of the presidential election season, gave the group a unique look at the election process from both the national and local perspectives. In Washington DC, they held discussions with the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the State Department and with representatives from the Japanese Embassy to get an overview of key issues in US-Japan relations. They also visited a range of think tanks, political consultants, corporate leaders, and others to learn about topics such as data collection and IT in election campaigns, the impact of economic inequality on this year’s elections, campaign strategies, and campaign fundraising. The delegation’s visit also coincided with the ACYPL 50th Anniversary Gala, which they were able to attend.
The group then traveled to Lansing Michigan, where they were able to meet members of the Michigan State Senate and House of Representatives, the chief justice of Michigan, the chief of staff of the mayor of Lansing, and representatives of the Michigan Democratic and Republican Parties. They also toured the Technology Innovation Center at Michigan State University before heading on to Detroit, where they took a tour of the Detroit Experience Factory and the Henry Ford Museum. Discussions in Detroit with local leaders focused on local politics and community development.
The third leg of the trip was a trip to Colorado Springs Colorado. The group started their visit by meeting with Lt. General Michael Gould, former superintendent of the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs among other posts, and currently a trustee of the El Pomar Foundation, which hosted the group at the Penrose House (a conference center listed on the National Register of Historic Places). They met with a number of local officials, including a Colorado Springs city council member, the commissioner of El Paso County, a state senator, and the mayor of Colorado Springs. The groups also met with Denver Elections to learn about their vote model and innovations, had a dinner meeting with Makoto Ito, Consul General of Denver, and toured the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center.
TAKUMA FURUYA, Director, Public Speeches Division, Party Organization and Campaign Headquarters, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
TSUYOSHI MAEDA, Member, Kochi Prefectural Assembly, The Democratic Party (DP)
YOKO MIYAZAKI, Manager, International Department, DP Headquarters Office
YOSHIMI ONODERA, Manager, Public Relations Headquarters, LDP Headquarters Office
TAKEHIRO SHIMOYAMA, Assistant Manager, Information System Department, Komeito Headquarters
KENJI TACHIBANA, Director, Policy Research Council, LDP Headquarters Office
DAI FUNAKI, Program Officer, Japan Center for International Exchange