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In late November, ACYPL sent a seven-member delegation to Japan for a 14-day exchange. Over the course of their trip, the group visited Tokyo, Gunma and Fukuoka. The delegation was politically and geographically diverse, as it included a member of the Florida House of Representatives, a state-senator elect from Utah, a city council member from Austin, Texas, and other political professionals from the public and private sector. The program was conducted in partnership with the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE), ACYPLs in country partner for decades. ACYPL conducts bilateral exchange programs with JCIE on an annual basis.
While in Washington, DC, the delegation was hosted for lunch by the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Ambassador’s residence, who briefed them on some of the key issues in Japan-US relations including trade, security, continued foreign investment, as well as domestic political issues in Japan. The group also visited the Japanese Cultural Information Center where they were briefed on Japanese culture and customs, preparing them for their professional and casual interactions with Japanese people.
The group’s time in Tokyo was largely focused on Japan’s national governance, political party structure, and trade policy. Among the notable highlights was a meeting with the Governor of Tokyo and a visit to the Japanese Diet to meet with young up and coming members.
In Gunma, the group studied Japan’s energy and manufacturing sectors with visits to the Maebashi Biomass Powerplant and a Subaru manufacturing plant. JCIE also arranged a visit to Nanmoku Village, the most aged community in Japan, to discuss healthcare and employment, which continues to be one of the most important issues in Japan and relates to both the energy and manufacturing sectors. In Fukuoka, meetings with local and prefectural elected officials rounded out the program, giving the delegates insight into every layer of government in Japan. Other highlights included a visit to a primary school and technology startup incubator.
While the delegation did have a very busy formal agenda, they were able to take in some of Japans’ culture and learn about its history. They toured parts of Tokyo, visiting the famous Mejii Shrine, Shibuya area and the Asakusa temple. In Gunma, the delegation visited an industrial silk mill and in Fukuoka, they spent time in the city of Daizafu, an ancient trading post. After a very meaningful exchange, ACYPL looks forward to continuing its bilateral partnership with JCIE in 2019 and beyond.