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JLGC Blogs

Manhattan Institute Interviews Nigel Lawson, Former U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer

Staff had an opportunity to attend an interesting ‘conversation’ at the Manhattan Institute with Nigel Lawson, now Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer (1983-1989) under the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher. His conversation was about the likely results in the upcoming U.K. general election and his Global Warming Policy Foundation. At the moment, the government is run by a coalition, consisting of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democratic Party (Nigel Lawson is a strong conservative voice and sits in the House of Lords – the U.K.’s upper chamber of parliament). Currently, the two main parties, Conservative and Labour, maintain an even support – about one-third… Read More »Manhattan Institute Interviews Nigel Lawson, Former U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer

On the Fourth Anniversary of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Construction in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture 3.11 Visiting Japan four years out from the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and thousand-year tsunami that hit the Tohoku region of Japan on March 11, 2011 (3.11), signs of new hope mingle with signs of continuing struggle. Compared to two or three years ago, however, the overall sense is that the future is finally beginning to take shape, even if the past still defines the landscape. Even now it is sobering to see the extent of the damage wrought by 3.11. Due to Japan’s stringent building codes and hard lessons learned in the Hanshin Awaji Earthquake of 1995, damage from the initial earthquake, although it was… Read More »On the Fourth Anniversary of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

New York City’s Commodity Distribution Point Program

It’s easy to get used to the conveniences of New York City: Great tap water; abundant restaurants, shops, and bodegas scattered throughout almost every neighborhood; and a pretty good transportation network (most of the time). But what happens if all of that suddenly shuts down? Learning from Superstorm Sandy, the City of New York has been reassessing all aspects of its emergency preparedness, both in terms of understanding what the dangers are and how the City can best respond to them. One outcome of this has been the decision to implement a new Commodity Distribution Point program that will help ensure that residents receive basic emergency supplies, hopefully within 24… Read More »New York City’s Commodity Distribution Point Program

More Than Trees Grow in Brooklyn Now

While Brooklyn has a lot of things, one would not normally expect to find a working farm there these days. However, right across the street from the front entrance of IKEA is the Red Hook Community Farm, a 2.75 acre space with approximately two acres of land under cultivation at the moment. The farm grows a great variety of vegetables The farm is run by the nonprofit organization Added Value. It grew out of a desire to provide educational opportunities for neighborhood youth along with fresh food to residents in the area, which is now slowly gentrifying but traditionally has held a lot of public housing, been underserved by supermarkets,… Read More »More Than Trees Grow in Brooklyn Now

New York Debuts the Nation’s First Urban Post-Disaster Housing Prototype

On June 10th, New York City’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) officially unveiled the first prototype in the US for a ready-made, modular, post-disaster housing unit specifically designed to meet the needs of a crowded urban environment such as that in the Five Boroughs and the greater New York City region. The prototype unit is three stories high, with two 813 square foot units that would have three bedrooms and one 480 square foot unit with one bedroom. All models have a bathroom, as well as a kitchen with Energy Star appliances and living area complete with storage units and a pull-out… Read More »New York Debuts the Nation’s First Urban Post-Disaster Housing Prototype

Japanese High School Students Campaign for an End to Nuclear Weapons

JLGC was pleased to host a visit by a group of high school students from the City of Hiroshima and Okinawa Prefecture, two places with living memories of the horrors of war, who visited New York along with the Mayor of Hiroshima, Mr. Kazumi Matsui. Mayor Matsui came, along with other members of the group Mayors for Peace, to attend the Preparatory Meeting leading up to the 2015 Nuclear Non-proliferation Review Conference at the United Nations. He was accompanied by the students, who met with various people in New York and collected signatures for their petition calling for the abolishment of all nuclear weapons. As part of their visit, on… Read More »Japanese High School Students Campaign for an End to Nuclear Weapons

The Honorable Margaret Reynolds, Chairperson of ACELG, Visits JLGC, New York

We were very pleased to have the Honorable Margaret Reynolds visit our office on April 2nd. For the past several years she has been serving as Chairperson of the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG), in which capacity she works closely with our colleagues at JLGC Sydney, and her visit provided the opportunity for a lively discussion about local government in Australia compared to the US, as well as the historical and cultural factors underpinning our very different political and administrative systems. We also greatly enjoyed hearing about her work on Aboriginal and other human rights issues, and her current position as State Manager for National Disability Services… Read More »The Honorable Margaret Reynolds, Chairperson of ACELG, Visits JLGC, New York

Disaster Response: The gas explosion in East Harlem

New York City’s emergency services swung immediately into action following an apparent natural gas explosion that brought down two buildings on Park Avenue between 116th and 117th Streets on Wednesday, March 12th, at around 9:30 in the morning. According to news reports, seven buildings surrounding the two that collapsed and burned had to be completely evacuated because of blast and smoke damage, displacing dozens of families and individuals. The force of the initial blast blew out windows in the surrounding neighborhood, sending glass and debris into apartments and shops close to the site, which was then compounded by heavy, acrid smoke and dust blowing in through the openings. A number… Read More »Disaster Response: The gas explosion in East Harlem

Who Knows Japan Better? A JET Alumna Promotes Tourism

One very helpful service provided by the JET alumni is their ability to talk about Japan with people in their home countries, whether about the society and culture, food, places to visit, or current events. Whether through their chapters or on their own, we always find that the alumni are enthusiastic to talk about any number of topics, and to get out and support Japan-related events, trade and tourism promotions, or visits by delegations from Japanese local governments. In one of the latest examples of this, Casey Marie Mochel, who was an ALT in Takarazuka City from 2005 to 2008 and is currently a Country Representative for JETAA USA, was… Read More »Who Knows Japan Better? A JET Alumna Promotes Tourism

Fukushima University Group Visits JLGC

A group of students from Fukushima University came to JLGC on Friday, March 7th, as part of their visit to New York arranged by the Kakehashi Project, which is commissioned by the Japan-US Educational Commission and carried out by the Japan Foundation in cooperation with the Laurasian Institute. The group is one of several traveling around the US to both give participants the chance to expand their knowledge of and familiarity with the US and to talk to people here about various issues and activities in Japan. After listening to a brief introduction of the missions and activities of JLGC and CLAIR, including information on the JET Program and JET… Read More »Fukushima University Group Visits JLGC

“Tohoku Tomo” Premieres in Chicago on March 12th

A new film entitled “Tohoku Tomo”, by Wesley Julian, a Miyagi Prefecture Japan Exchange and Teaching Program participant from 2008 to 2010, will premier in Chicago on Wednesday, March 12th, at the Adler Planetarium. The screening will be in the SC Johnson Family Star Theater and will begin at 6:00p.m. Tickets are free, but must be reserved. For information on the film and to register for tickets, please go to http://tohokutomo.com/. Tohoku Tomo tells the story of volunteers who mobilized to help the people of Tohoku following the disasters of March 11th, 2011. Working through a variety of organizations, many of them founded by members of the JET Program, these… Read More »“Tohoku Tomo” Premieres in Chicago on March 12th

‘Food Trucks’ are an Ever-Expanding Entrepreneurial Adventure

Staff from the Japan Local Government Center, attending the annual Congress of Cities in Seattle recently, sat in on a very interesting presentation about ‘mobile food vending’, or what are commonly called ‘food trucks’. Mobile food vending or, as it is called more commonly, ‘food trucks’ would not seem to be a major issue for local governments. In fact, however, that is not the case. This part of the restaurant industry has been growing remarkably strongly in the past few years. So much so, that the National League of Cities (NLC) at this year’s annual conference in Seattle devoted a whole session to the subject. The session, indeed, was the… Read More »‘Food Trucks’ are an Ever-Expanding Entrepreneurial Adventure

JETAA Regional Conference at Harvard University’s Reischauer Center

The New England chapter of JETAA USA hosted a regional conference on January 11th and 12th at Harvard University’s Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies. There were representatives from 15 US chapters and one Canadian chapter in attendance, as well as the three US Country Representatives and a member of the JETAA USA Board of Advisors. The conference was co-sponsored by JLGC, CULCON, the US-Japan Bridging Foundation, and the Consulate General of Japan in Boston. The main theme of the conference was Membership Management, and sessions dealt with various issues related to this including capacity-building for national level initiatives, strengthening the chapters’ ability to recruit and serve members through… Read More »JETAA Regional Conference at Harvard University’s Reischauer Center

Public Pension Forum Held by the Manhattan Institute to Discuss ‘Crowd-Out’ Issue for Local Governments

In October, staff from the Japan Local Government Center attended a forum on the fiscal problem facing many if not all local government employee pension systems in the United States. The forum lasted all morning, with two discussion panels of experts on the subject and two keynote speeches. The first panel discussed what the fiscal problem was and the second panel talked about how to fix these fiscal problems. In the first panel, discussion focused on how the local government public pension system is affecting local government fiscal solvency. We all talk about public pensions becoming a major burden on local government finances but the real issue is the fact… Read More »Public Pension Forum Held by the Manhattan Institute to Discuss ‘Crowd-Out’ Issue for Local Governments