Exchange Detail

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US to Japan

Nov 13 - 26 2019

#acyplJPN

Exchange Outline

The delegation poses at Nagoya

In November, ACYPL sent a 7-member delegation to Japan in conjunction with longtime program partner, the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE)—our Japanese partner since 1971. Comprised of three state legislators, a state political party chair, attorneys, and government affairs professionals, this delegation explored Tokyo, Kochi, and Aichi over the course of 11 days.

Before departure, the delegation spent a day in Washington, DC to dive deeper into the US-Japan relationship and the governmental structure and politics of Japan. Highlights from this portion of the exchange were a lunch with the Deputy Chief of Mission from the Embassy of Japan to discuss Japanese culture over a meal of authentic cuisine. Equally informative and engaging was a presentation on Japan’s political parties and governmental branches by representatives of the Stimson Center East Asia Program.

Beginning the program in Tokyo, the delegation was welcomed by several ACYPL alumni posted in all levels of government, from the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, the Governor of Tokyo, and members of the Diet. The Tokyo program also exposed the delegates to Japan’s political parties through meetings with Diet members from the Liberal Democratic Party and a visit to the Komeito Party headquarters. In Kochi, the delegation was hosted by Kochi Prefectural Assembly Member Koichiro Yorimitsu (US 2017) to explore farming and fishing issues in this rural prefecture. Throughout the Aichi program, the delegation relished the opportunity to visit several smaller cities, during which they met additional members of the Diet in their home locales and Japan’s only American politician, Anthony Bianchi, an Inuyama City Councilor. A visit to the Toyota Motor Corporation headquarters provided contrast to the government meetings and was an informative insight into the US-Japan trade relationship.

The delegation meets Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike

Culturally, the delegation enjoyed outings to architectural sights such as the Nagoya and Inuyama Castles and Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine. A visit to a yuzu farm in Kochi and a pottery kiln in Aichi were also standout visits. By sharing these experiences, the delegates found consensus and common ground, creating collective memories and productive conversation. Remarked one delegate, “The exchange was valuable in giving me an opportunity to have bipartisan discussion about policy issues facing the United States, which can be a rare opportunity in my regular everyday life.”