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US-Japan Young Political Leaders 15th Delegation to Japan (1996)

Tokyo/Sendai/Kyoto
November 17–29, 1996

This eleven-member American delegation visited Tokyo, Sendai, and Kyoto on November 17-29, 1996. Their program began with a briefing by JCIE president Tadashi Yamamoto on the changing dynamics of Japanese society, a theme that ran through subsequent discussions with leaders in politics, business, and the media. Koji Watanabe, former ambassador to Russia, spoke on the changing diplomatic agenda; Keita Nishiyama, a Ministry of International Trade and Industry official, on external economic relations and policy making in the shifting political environment; and US Ambassador to Japan Walter Mondale and his staff on US concerns and perceptions of Japan in transition. A general election had taken place in the fall of 1996, and a series of special briefings was added to the program to cover aspects of coalition politics. In Sendai, for example, a multipartisan session on "Assessing the Recent General Election, the New Electoral System, and the Policy Process at the Local Level" was held with moderator Kazuo Aichi, former defense minister and now New Frontier member of the House of Representatives. The Sendai agenda was organized by members of the Miyagi Prefectural Assembly who were former program participants. Meetings were arranged with local business leaders and politicians, including Norio Tejima, chair of the Sendai Association of Corporate Executives, and Shiro Asano, governor of Miyagi Prefecture, and the group also visited schools, civic organizations, and factories.

Participants List

Democrats

Fayrine Kennon Councilwoman, Minden, Louisiana
Gordon Li Special Assistant, Political Affairs, Office of the President
Noah Mamet Regional Director of Finance, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Mark McElroy County Judge, Desha County, Arkansas
Charles Seigel Vice President for National Affairs, Apollo Group, Inc.

Republicans

Teresa Dyer Director of Governmental Relations, Ticketmaster Corporation
Donna Ferrara Assemblywoman, State of New York
William Hewes, III State Senator, Mississippi
Gary McPherson State Representative, Colorado
Vincent Ventimiglia, Jr. Counsel, Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee

Escort

Molly Spearman State Representative, South Carolina