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Kazuyuki Matsumoto

JET Program cited in Proclamation by Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado

On the occasion of the annual National Day Reception, hosted by the Consulate General of Japan in Denver, the State of Colorado presented Consul-General Ono with a Proclamation signed by Governor Hickenlooper announcing 2013 as “THE YEAR OF OPPORTUNITY FOR ENHANCED RELATIONS, FRIENDSHIP, AND MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN JAPAN AND THE STATE OF COLORADO”. The Proclamation cites this as being the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to the United States, the inauguration of non-stop flights between Colorado and Japan, and the ongoing success of the JET Program, with strong participation by Coloradoans, as contributing to ever-richer relations between the two peoples. While the state presents a Proclamation each… Read More »JET Program cited in Proclamation by Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado

Mr. Paulo Ziulkoski, President of the Confederacao Nacional dos Municipios, Brazil, Visits JLGC

Executive Director Takaaki Ogata was pleased to welcome Mr. Paulo Ziulkoski, President of the Confederação Nacional dos Municípios (CNM, National Confederation of Municipalities of Brazil), to Japan Local Government Center / CLAIR, New York, on December 18th for a discussion on the activities carried out by our respective offices and how CLAIR might help CNM to promote greater international cooperation among local governments in Brazil. Mr. Gustavo Cezário, Director, also joined the meeting via Skype from Brasília. With 4,500 of the 5,568 municipalities in Brazil as members, CNM has partnered with CLAIR for several years on a limited basis, sending participants to the Local Government Officials Training Program (LGOTP) run… Read More »Mr. Paulo Ziulkoski, President of the Confederacao Nacional dos Municipios, Brazil, Visits JLGC

Nagasaki JET alumni meet Nagasaki Governor and Assembly members together with Nagasaki Group in New York

In early September, Four Nagasaki JET alumni participated in an exchange meeting with a delegation from Nagasaki Prefecture (led by the incumbent Governor Nakamura) and the Nagasaki Association in New York (New York Batten-kai). In the first part, Nagasaki residents in New York and the alumni spoke of their ideas and opinions about how to revitalize Nagasaki Prefecture. The alumni proposed the promotion of eco-tourism, making the most of the newly introduced Shinkansen, etc. The Governor, assembly members including the Assembly Speaker Mr. Watanabe and other prefecture officials listened to them earnestly. After that, they happily spoke with each other about their memories of JET life in Nagasaki and so… Read More »Nagasaki JET alumni meet Nagasaki Governor and Assembly members together with Nagasaki Group in New York

The First Peace Message from Hiroshima at Pearl Harbor

On June 8, Mayor Matsui from the City of Hiroshima visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu. He dedicated flowers and gave a speech for visitors. It was the first speech by a Japanese mayor at the Memorial. His key message was as follows: It is my pleasure to be able to visit and offer flowers here at the USS Arizona Memorial on its milestone 50th anniversary. I would like to offer a prayer for the peaceful repose of all the individuals honored here. This wall is carved with the names of many of the victims. Similarly, Hiroshima has lost 140,000 people in the atomic bombing. The… Read More »The First Peace Message from Hiroshima at Pearl Harbor

Rocky Mountain JETs Come Out For The Kids

The Rocky Mountain JETAA chapter has been busy with two recent events helping out their various Colorado sister cities. Fujiyoshida, in Yamanashi-ken, and Colorado Springs just celebrated their 50th anniversary in early August, so RMJETAA mobilized their Colorado Springs and Denver JET alumni to participate in the festivities in Colorado Springs and be available to assist with translating, interpreting, and other duties for the 70 visitors from Japan. One main place they helped out was the family event held at America the Beautiful Park on August 4th. Because many JET alumni from Colorado Springs were placed in Fujiyoshida as ALTs and CIRs, the celebration was a great chance for friends… Read More »Rocky Mountain JETs Come Out For The Kids

Resolution No. 12-145 was appreciation to Naomi Maki with her CLAIR report-St. Lucie County, FL

The Board of County Commissioners’ special meeting on July 19, 2012 adopted a resolution expressing appreciation to Naomi Maki with the Japan Local Government Center for choosing to visit and study St. Lucie County, Florida to learn more about its success story relating to its financial and budge challenges, organization restructuring and public/private partnerships. Chairman Mowery and Naomi Maki With Ms. Outlaw, BOCC, CBC, County staffs Because of the global recession, the county encountered a serious financial crisis. The county faced a $57 million operating deficit, double-digit unemployment, and one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. But, after just two years, the county has made great strides to… Read More »Resolution No. 12-145 was appreciation to Naomi Maki with her CLAIR report-St. Lucie County, FL

Creating More Powerful and Streamlined Local Government in Japan

Photo: In front of Osaka Station, (C) City of Osaka Japan’s five major political parties reportedly agreed to introduce a bill which enables local governments of a certain population size to change their governing structure. Japan has a two-tier local government system in which the upper tier governments are called prefectures and the lower tiers are cities, towns and villages. The bill will allow local governments with more than two million people to abolish their lower-tier local government(s) and establish special wards instead. Special wards have less governing power compared to the original lower-tier governments, and the remaining power will be concentrated in and exercised by the prefecture to which… Read More »Creating More Powerful and Streamlined Local Government in Japan

New York City to Limit Size of Sugary Drinks Sold

Photo:The web page of New York City department of Health and Mental Hygiene Purpose It is always difficult to balance efficient local government administration with open discussion with those residents affected by local government policies. This is particularly important for Japanese local governments where such a balance is not always obvious. The purpose of this short article is to describe what may be termed as ‘how not to engage your residents’ on matters that affect their personal lives. Background The Mayor of New York City has, for some considerable time, attempted to link various food and other behaviours to the general ‘health’ of the City’s residents. There have been ‘bans’… Read More »New York City to Limit Size of Sugary Drinks Sold

What Americans Think About Their Governments

Background Annually, since 1998, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (PRC) conducts a poll of Americans to gauge their opinions, favourable and unfavourable, toward American federal, state and local governments. Though questions vary somewhat from year to year, certain basic themes are kept constant. Also, the Center’s focus tends to be mainly on state and federal governments. Finally, the results of its surveys, generally, make news nationally and are often featured prominently on the television and in the press. For Japanese governments note should be taken, particularly since ‘polling’ has become a mainstay of Japanese news agencies and newspapers on almost every topic of interest in… Read More »What Americans Think About Their Governments

JETAA USA Support for Communities in Japan

One way that the many JET alumni chapters in the US work to stay connected to Japan is through their support for prefecture and local governments and their involvement with communities here that have links to Japan. Alumni are active in contributing to sister city and sister state relationships, assisting groups or officials visiting from Japan, helping out at events and exhibits to promote tourism and local products, and participating in kenjinkai and other Japanese groups here in the US. Sister State & Sister City Relationships While almost every chapter reported involvement with sister states and cities in some way, a few of the more substantive examples are mentioned here.… Read More »JETAA USA Support for Communities in Japan

Promoting Local Special Food – Udon (Wheat Noodle) Taxi in Kagawa

Each local area has its own special food. Especially in Japan, there are various kinds of local food and some of them are very famous. The residents love the food, and many tourists visit such places to explore a special local taste, which enriches their travel experience. Kagawa Prefecture, located on Shikoku Island, is very famous for “Udon”, wheat noodles in soup. Udon is a common food across almost all of Japan. But Kagawa’s Udon (called “Sanuki Udon” named after the region’s feudal age name) is especially famous and popular for its special texture and serving style. There are said to be eight hundred Udon restaurants in Kagawa. Not a… Read More »Promoting Local Special Food – Udon (Wheat Noodle) Taxi in Kagawa

Centennial Gift of Trees Celebration at the City of Novi

This year marks the 100th anniversary of trees given to the United States from Japan which are planted in Washington, DC. On May 19th, Sunday, a tree planting ceremony was held at the Novi Civic Center. The City of Novi, which has the largest Japanese population in Michigan with nearly 2,500 community members and more than 65 Japanese-owned businesses, has been chosen as a recipient of the Centennial Gift of Trees. At the ceremony, Mayor Gatt said “By welcoming diversity, Novi has become home for global citizens and businesses. In the future, as we water and nurture these trees, we are reminded to do the same with the Japan-Novi relationship.”… Read More »Centennial Gift of Trees Celebration at the City of Novi

A New and Controversial Municipal Tax on Vehicles Crossing the Bridge

~ One Aspect of Japanese Municipal Tax System ~ On April 11th, 2012, the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) approved a controversial tax by the City of Izumisano, Osaka. The city will impose a 100 yen tax on every vehicle which crosses the bridge connecting the mainland to Kansai International Airport (KIA) Island. The tax is in addition to an existing 800 yen toll on the national bridge. Historically, the bridge was owned by KIA Co., Ltd established by the national government to operate KIA. Although established by the national government, the bridge was privately owned and the city could and did levy a property tax on… Read More »A New and Controversial Municipal Tax on Vehicles Crossing the Bridge

Traffic control policy for large-scale disasters is changed significantly

Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department announced on March 5, 2012 that its traffic control policy has been updated significantly. Almost one year has passed since the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, when the central part of the Tokyo metropolitan area experienced heavy traffic congestion with people trying to return to their homes. As a result, there were instances when emergency vehicles could not arrive quickly to places where people needed them. Learning from that experience, the new department plan aims to improve the performance of emergency vehicles, especially police cars, fire engines and ambulances. Before the new plan, vehicles bringing emergency supplies to specific places were allowed. Under the new… Read More »Traffic control policy for large-scale disasters is changed significantly

Let Your Child Experience the World

Tokyo Metropolitan Government supports the overseas study and training of 10,000 youth. In December 2011, Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) issued its long term comprehensive vision titled “Tokyo Vision 2020”. The plan is to show the residents of Tokyo how to move forward and tackle many kinds of urban issues after the Great East Japan Earthquake. This plan addresses “8 Goals”; including becoming a disaster- resistant city, creating a highly efficient and independent energy system, stimulating industry, transportation, welfare and education. As well as the “8 Goals”, the plan also describes “12 Key Projects” to achieve the goals. Among the “12 Goals”, you can find an interesting project called “Let Your… Read More »Let Your Child Experience the World