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Australia-Japan Young Political Leaders Exchange Program

The Ninth Delegation to Japan
October 24–November 2, 1999

Nine of Australia's political leaders, including young legislators, party officials, and parliamentary staff, traveled to Japan for a ten-day study tour of Tokyo, Gifu, and Kyoto. In addition to enhancing their understanding of the current political, economic, and social environment in Japan and the issues that are facing the country, the delegates were able to exchange opinions with various Japanese leaders on the ways in which Japan and Australia might work together to meet the challenges that lie ahead for Asia Pacific.

The group spent roughly one week in Tokyo, meeting with political party leaders, Diet members, ministry officials, and leaders from business and labor. Discussions focused on the coalition government's strategy to lift the country out of the recession, its employment policies, its efforts to cope with the graying society, and other policy issues. Since the timing of the visit coincided with the formation of the tripartite coalition government, the delegation members had opportunities to listen to such political party leaders as Takenori Kanzaki (New Komeito), Takako Doi (Social Democratic Party), and Tsutomu Hata (Democratic Party). These meetings offered the participants insight into the dramatic changes occurring in Japan, including the progress toward greater deregulation and the changing role of politicians in the Japanese policymaking process.

The delegation's visit to Gifu Prefecture was arranged with the help of the leader of the Japanese delegation that visited Australia in 1997, Rep. Kazuyoshi Kaneko. Through meetings with such local leaders as the Gifu prefectural governor, members of the prefectural assembly, and the president of a local bank, the participants gained a unique perspective on regional politics in Japan and the trend toward devolution of authority to local governments—especially initiatives to transfer some government functions from Tokyo to Gifu.

Participants List

Delegation Leader

Nicola RoxonMember for Gellibrand, Victoria, Federal Parliament (Australian Labor Party)

Liberal Party

Peter Clarke Chairman, Victorian State Council Agenda Committee for the Liberal Party of Australia
Roger NichollsMember, Legislative Assembly of Western Australia
Virginia WallacePolicy and Media Adviser to the Special Minister of State

Australian Labor Party

Jacqueline FlitcroftAdviser to the Shadow Minister for Employment, Training and Population
Chris FryAdviser to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Treasurer
Natalie SykesAssistant Secretary, Victorian Trades Hall Council

National Party

Douglas DoyleImmediate Past President, Young National Party of Australia

Australian Political Exchange Council

Daryl Wight