1997 US Young Political Leaders Delegation to Japan

November 15–28, 1997
Tokyo, Oita, Kyoto

The 1997 ACYPL delegation to Japan arrived in Tokyo at a time of great change, both in the realm of politics and economics. Japan’s political party system has undergone a seismic shift in recent years, so to better understand the evolving political landscape, the group spoke with political analysts and met with the top leadership of most of the major parties, including Takako Doi, chair of the Social Democratic Party (SDP); Tsutomu Hata, former Prime Minister and President of the Taiyo Party; Naoto Kan, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ); Koichi Kato, Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP); and Shigefumi Matsuzawa, a Diet Member from the New Frontier Party (NFP).

The nine-member delegation also met with top bureaucrats, speaking with Ministry of Finance officials about Japan’s fiscal and financial policies, discussing US-Japan trade relations with Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) officials, and receiving a briefing on Japan’s foreign policy agenda at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Hajime Shinohara, Managing Director of the Institute for International Monetary Affairs, also spoke with the group about Japan’s response to the ongoing Asian economic crisis; Shujiro Ogata, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Japan, outlined Japanese financial and fiscal reforms; and Nobutaka Machimura, Minister of Education, discussed Japan’s approach to education policy.

The delegation finished off their two-week trip by traveling first to Oita Prefecture, where they participated in a home-stay program and held meetings with Oita Governor Morihiko Hiramatsu and other local officials, then briefly visited Kyoto.


MICHAEL BOXLEY, Counsel to Senate Minority, New York State Senate (Democrat)
NORMA CHAVEZ, Member, Texas House of Representatives (Democrat)
THOMAS DAVIDSON, Member, Maine House of Representatives (Democrat)
TIMOTHY JOHNSON, Member, Mississippi State Senate (Republican)
DAVID JONES, National Finance Chair, Rep. Richard Gephardt (Democrat)
MARY MORRISSEY, Member, Vermont House of Representatives (Republican)
RONALD RUSSELL, Councilman, Prince George’s County, Maryland (Democrat)
PHILLIP “MATT” SMITH, Member, Colorado House of Representatives (Republican)
CINDY STEIN, Auditor, Greene County, Missouri (Republican)

This program is conducted in partnership with the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL).