We started our last full day in Tokyo at theTochigi fish market. We were after the morning auction, but it was still bustling, so many varieties of fish. Many of us had super fresh sushi that by wide acclaim was the best people had ever had.
Afterwards, we met with a representative of the gender equality bureau, discussing Japan’s attempts to gender equality policies. This issue is particularly important given Japan’s rapidly aging population causing demand for more working age employees. The representative covered the various targets the government has for women in more managerial positions, their changes in family leave, and their efforts to change the culture around women and men working. Japan recently (April 2014) changes their childcare leave policies, making them some of the most generous in the world. Despite that, male participation in the program is only 2.65%, while female participation is 81.65%.
Next, we had a meeting with the Keidanren, the Japanese business federation. Talks again focused around TPP, Japan’s aging population, and target countries and sectors for Japanese agreement. It was discussed that increasing ties between NEC and Keidanren would be valuable, and contact would be established once the participants were back in the United States.
Finally, we presented it’s findings of the trip to JICE. We also presented our plan of action going forward, which will be detailed in a later blog post. We are excited to spend one last night in this wonderful city prior to the flight home tomorrow!
February 18th – Home Stay
Day 2: Februray 16, 2017
The Kakehashi delegation kicked off with two government meetings, an in-country orientation, and a Japanese tea ceremony.
Our hosts graciously presided over the program’s objectives, emergency contacts, and itinerary to orient our group to the program.
Our first meeting was with the economic bureau in Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. With the timely visit by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Washington D.C. the previous week, the ministry presented us with a joint statement on security and economic cooperation between the two countries since U.S. President Donald Trump took office less than one month ago. What stood out in the bilateral economic relationship was the importance of the United States as one of Japan’s top trade and investment partners. The United States is Japan’s top export destination and receives the greatest foreign direct investment from its U.S. counterparts. Japan has created thousands of jobs in the United States by opening manufacturing facilities throughout the country. In 1986, Japan exported 3.43 million fully assembled cars to the United States and only made 0.43 million in various states. By 2015, Japanese companies assembled 3.85 million cars around the United States and only exported 1.6 million cars. Japanese companies can boost that they are the top job creators in 10 U.S. states and the second top job creators in 8 additional states. Japan hopes to deepen the economic partnership with cooperation in four keys areas 1) U.S. infrastructure on high-speed rails in California, Texas, and along D.C. to New York; 2) energy imports of LNG and crude oil; 3) technology exchange; and 4) global issues of mutual interest. While President Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, ministry officials underscored Japan’s interest in working within the multilateral trade bloc so its companies can grow within the regional supply chain.
Next, we met with the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Japan imports 61% of its food consumption, compared to the United States that is 100 percent self-sufficient and exports 29% of its food products. The United States is the largest country of origin for Japan’s food products at a 19.6% share. Major U.S. food imports include corn, soybeans, pork, beef, fruits, and wheat. Japan exports scallops, yellowtail, alcohol, sauces/dressing, green tea leaves, and sesame oil to the United States. Under TPP, Japan had five sensitive export food products that were negotiated to be exempt from tariffs, including beef, pork, sugar, dairy, and wheat/barley.
To wrap up the day, our delegation drank tea. In the Japanese tea ceremony, guests join together to create a sense of unity called ‘ichiza konryu’. We gathered in a small tatami room sharing bitter matcha green tea complemented by a sweet fruit to deepen our group’s connection through the shared ritual and enjoyment of tea.
#Kakehashi2016 #JICE #USA #Japan
Foreign Affairs, Green Tea, and Bullet Trains – The journey begins.
I’m writing this post going 100 miles per hour on the Shiskanen! We started our first full daywith a nice Japanese breakfast at our hotel. We’ve had beautiful sunny weather so far. Our first meeting was an orientation with Makiko and Mikiko who explained the purpose of the KAKEHASHI project to our group.
We met with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who focused on how the election of President Trump has brought a likely end to the Transpacific Partnership. While the setback to the TPP is a serious concern in Japan, they were pleasantly surprised by how well the recent Trump-Abe meeting went. Our group asked many questions about trade and we received very thorough and frank answers. Joe thanked the foreign affairs officers for talking with us in Japanese.
In the afternoon we met with officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. We learned about domestic and imported food and washoku, or traditional Japanese food including seasonal produce and wagyu.
We visited a tea room and got to try matcha. We stirred the matcha into hot water using a traditional bamboo whisk.
Finally, we’re on our way Tochigi Prefecture where we’ll enjoy dinner and move into a new hotel.
— Emily Washington
Day 1: February 15, 2017
Kakehashi Day 1
We arrived in Tokyo after a long but surprisingly comfortable flight, due to the great service and food provided by ANA. Upon arrival we met our host Aranishi-san, who guided us to our hotel. Despite being completely exhausted, we were thrilled to see the beginnings of the Tokyo skyline. We had dinner at a delicious tempura – which means “heaven taste” – restaurant, where the server would come around and drop off fresh fried tempura in front of us.
Upon arriving in Tokyo, We ate a lovely meal of tempura for dinner. We are getting to know each other and the people from Brookings Instutue that are here with our NEC group. We enjoyed the ease of travel upon arriving and the friendly welcome we received.
Announcing the 2017 Kakehashi Scholar Selectees
Dear NEC Members:
Please join us in congratulating the twelve applicants who were selected as our Kakehashi Scholars for 2017. Their names and primary affiliations are listed below. Through the generosity of the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE), these scholars will be provided with a fully funded study tour to Japan to encourage greater understanding between the youth of Japan and the United States and to give these young researchers the opportunity to learn about the economy and culture of Japan through meetings with private and public sector organizations and individuals. We are deeply grateful to JICE for the opportunity to participate in the Kakehashi Project and are excited for what lies ahead for these young scholars.
- Amanda Riggs, National Association of REALTORS
- Clare Stechschulte, Booz Allen Hamilton
- Emily Washington, Mercatus Center
- Ethan Lee, Navy Federal Credit Union
- Gabrielle Forgione, Booz Allen Hamilton
- Joseph Ahn, Economists Inc.
- Karen Milam, Environmental Protection Agency
- Kristine Johnson, U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
- Laura Stanley, Environmental Protection Agency
- Scott Condren, Export-Import Bank of the United States
- Suzanne Chang, New York University Stern School of Business
Chaperone: Michael Ryan, IHS Markit; Vice President of Programs – NEC