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  Japan-America 150th Anniversary

Securing the Future in Japan and the United States:
Women in Politics & Public Service

  Program Date:   December 2004 & July 2005
  Application Due:   N/A
  Location:   Japan, United States
  Program Type:   Public Affairs
  Contact:   National Association of Japan-America Societies
Tel: 202-429-5545
The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation

  Organized by The National Association of Japan-America Societies and The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and sponsored by Citigroup; in-kind support from All Nippon Airways  
  Program Overview  

The National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS) in cooperation with The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation (MMMF) will organize two delegations-American and Japanese-of influential women to visit each others' country and examine the policymaking processes. In December 2004, the U.S. delegation will spend a week in Tokyo meeting their Japanese counterparts in public service; visiting public and non-governmental organizations whose mission is to focus on social policy; and sharing their experiences. Our collaborators in Japan are the Women's Association for a Better Aging Society, The Dawn Center and the Fusae Ichikawa Memorial Association.

Confirmed participants for the December 4-12, 2004 program include:

Karen Fraser, (D) District 22, Washington State Legislature.
Linda Gray, (R) District 10, Arizona State Legislature; Senator elect.
Marilyn Jarrett, (R) District 19, Arizona State Legislature.
Sonja Nesbit, Professional minority staff member for the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee.
Sharon Sayles-Belton, Senior Fellow, Humphrey Institute, former mayor of Minneapolis (1994-2001).
Karen Schwarzwalder, YWCA Executive Director, Columbus Board of Education member and past president Columbus Board of Education.
Shirley Wilcher, President, Wilcher Global Diversity Consulting, former executive director of Americans for a Fair Chance.


In July 2005, the Japanese delegation will spend a week in Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. visiting their American counterparts. We will also host a public forum in each country to exchange ideas about how to effectuate social policy change in our communities; and establish a website to disseminate information and resources.

Confirmed participants for the July 9-16, 2005 program include:

Kiyoko Fujii, President, Yokohama Women's Association for Communication and Networking
Keiko Tamai, Senior Program Officer, Asia Foundation
Hiroko Mizushima, Member, House of Representatives (Democratic Party of Japan)
Keiko Higuchi, President, Women's Association for a Better Aging Society
Nakamura,Tsuyako, Professor, Doshisha University
Sachie Shikano, CEO,YWCA of Osaka
Mikiko Otani, Attorney,Otani Law Offices

  Background Information    

Japan and the United States, as the world's two largest democratic economies, face challenges in the next ten years in the areas of aging population, healthcare and prescription medicine costs, and education reform. The two countries work closely in global defense, anti-terrorism, assistance to developing countries and economic development. While cooperating on global issues of mutual interest, both the U.S. and Japan have maintained very distinct domestic agendas.

Domestic issues in the areas of aging, health care, and education tend to be the political platform of American women in public service. It is no different for the Japanese women politicians. According to a recent survey by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission (UNESCAP) for Asia and the Pacific, most Japanese elected women said that they wanted to change local politics, particularly concerning human rights of women and children. A growing number of women elected officials in Japan and the United States suggests an opportunity to bring together women in public service from both countries to examine their country's policymaking process and engage in a long-term dialogue that may bring about positive social policy change.



Program Sponsors

This program is funded by Citigroup Corporation. All Nippon Airways is providing in-kind support with airline tickets for the delegation.


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