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Australia-Japan Young Political Leaders Exchange Program

The Fifteenth Delegation to Japan
February 18 –February 24, 2006

During their weeklong visit, seven members of the 15th Australian Delegation to Japan met with a wide range of national and local leaders to discuss Australia-Japan relations, emerging trends in Japanese politics, regional economic ties, and national security issues. In Tokyo, they spoke with more than a dozen Diet members, including the leadership of all three major political parties. As the Liberal Democratic Party was preparing for the leadership contest to succeed Prime Minister Koizumi, the party’s acting secretary general, Ichiro Aisawa, explained the party’s agenda and long-term vision. Meanwhile, a four-member delegation of Diet members from the Democratic Party of Japan and a three-member group from the New Komeito Party outlined their contrasting positions on domestic and foreign policy.

Regional integration and the evolving regional architecture were key topics in discussions with foreign ministry officials and think tank experts, and the delegation shared views on Australia-Japan cooperation in regional relations in a meeting with Yasuhisa Shiozaki, senior vice minister for foreign affairs. Also, a group of Diet members and other prominent leaders with ties to Australia, led by Minister of Education Kenji Kosaka, gathered for a reception to welcome the delegation to Japan.

In order to learn about political and economic dynamics outside of the capitol, the delegation traveled to Nagoya, one of Japan’s main industrial centers, where they met with local politicians and city officials.  This visit included a briefing on municipal environmental initiatives, as well as a visit to a local junior high school. The trip ended with a one-day visit to Kyoto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to visit historic sites and receive briefings on traditional Japanese culture.

 

Participants List

The Liberal Party of Australia:

Michael Keenan MP Federal Member of the House of Representatives for Stirling
Helen Kroger Federal Vice President and State President (Victorian Division

The Nationals:

Fiona Simpson MLA Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly for Maroochydore

The Australian Labor Party:

Matt Brown MLA New South Wales Parliamentary Secretary Assisting the Minister for Roads and Minister for Transport; Member fo the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for Kiama
Tony Robinson MLA Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly for Mitcham
Carmel Tebbutt MLA

New South Wales Sate Minister for Education and Training; Member, New South Wales Legislative Assembly for Marrickville

The Australian Political Exchange Council:

Pandora Livanes Executive Officer