Journalist meets politician: The day I reunited with my childhood friend 5,500 miles from home

  • Jim Herberg, left, general manager of the OC Sanitation District conducts a tour for visiting politicians from Japan in Fountain Valley on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The tour was part of an American Council of Young Political Leaders exchange program. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Jim Herberg, left, basic supervisor of the OC Sanitation District carries out a tour for visiting political leaders from Japan in Water Fountain Valley on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The trip became part of an American Council of Young Political Leaders exchange program. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange Area Register/SCNG)

  • Young politicians from Japan tour the OC Sanitation District facilities in Fountain Valley on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The group, which was part of an American Council of Young Political Leaders exchange program also toured the Orange County Water District’s operations. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Youthful politicians from Japan explore the OC Hygiene District facilities in Fountain Valley on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The group, which was component of an American Council of Young Political Leaders exchange program also visited the Orange Region Water Area’s procedures. (Picture by Paul Rodriguez, Orange Region Register/SCNG)

  • Politicians from Japan arrive to meet with OC Water District representatives before a tour of the facilities in Fountain Valley on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The tour was part of an American Council of Young Political Leaders exchange program. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Political leaders from Japan get here to meet with OC Water Area reps before a trip of the facilities in Water fountain Valley on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The scenic tour became part of an American Council of Young Political Leaders exchange program. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Roger Yoh, left, OCWD board member, welcomes politicians from Japan to the Orange County Water District headquarters in Fountain Valley on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The tour was part of an American Council of Young Political Leaders exchange program. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Roger Yoh, left, OCWD board member, invites political leaders from Japan to the Orange County Water Area headquarters in Fountain Valley on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The trip was part of an American Council of Youthful Political Leaders exchange program. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • William Hunt, director of special projects at OCWD, explains the Orange County’s water system to visiting politicians from Japan in Fountain Valley on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The tour was part of an American Council of Young Political Leaders exchange program.(Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    William Hunt, supervisor of special projects at OCWD, clarifies the Orange County’s water system to seeing politicians from Japan in Fountain Valley on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The scenic tour was part of an American Council of Young Political Leaders exchange program.(Image by Paul Rodriguez, Orange Region Register/SCNG)

  • Visiting politicians from Japan get a tour of the Orange County Sanitation District facilities in Fountain Valley on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The tour was part of an American Council of Young Political Leaders exchange program. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

    Going to politicians from Japan obtain a tour of the Orange Area Sanitation Area facilities in Fountain Valley on Tuesday, October 31, 2017. The tour belonged to an American Council of Youthful Political Leaders exchange program. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange Area Register/SCNG)

of

Expand

It without a doubt is a small globe after all.

Having expanded up in Japan, I lately volunteered to speak with a delegation of young political leaders from Japan going to Southern The golden state.

When I obtained a checklist of the delegates’ names, I was greater than shocked. On there was Takahisa Oda, my close youth good friend, with whom I had actually strolled to college each day. Our residences were concerning 100 yards apart. He is currently a councilman of our hometown, the city of Sagamihara, on the outskirts of Tokyo.

On Oct. 31, we rejoined, 5,500 miles away from our home town in a hotel lobby in Orange, as a UNITED STATE reporter and a Japanese political leader. There was no chance we, or anybody, might have thought of that such a day would certainly come, and I couldn’t help yet feel pleased with our careers.

Takahisa was amongst 6 Japanese officials touched by their corresponding political events to develop connections with as well as discover the U.S. through an exchange program between the two countries, right before President Trump’s visit to Asia. These rising stars, 40 years as well as more youthful, are expected to lead Japan in the future.

I asked just what they considered the U.S. and its relationships with Japan.

The delegation first dropped in Washington, D.C. during their 10-day stay, which had been interrupted due to a snap election in Japan. There, they saw the United States Division of State and the Autonomous National Committee while also learning more about political lobbying.

“I was alleviated to discover State Division officials understand effectively concerning Japan,” stated Koichiro Yorimitsu, a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Event and also the Kochi Prefectural Setting Up.

Despite what happened in World War II, a lot of Japanese as well as the nation as an entire consider the USA to be a key partner. As well as that partnership is more crucial to Japan than ever before, as North Korea develops its rocket systems. A big argument in Japan is whether the nation should amend its pacifist constitution and beef up the military.

Although we listen to information regarding Kim Jong-un’s dangers to attack the USA, a lot of us here, also on the West Coast, don’t assume much concerning it in our daily lives. The anxiety, nevertheless, is genuine in Japan.

Whenever North Korea introduces a ballistic missile that flies over Japan, people obtain a federal government warning, known as the J-Alert, on loudspeakers, TV as well as mobile phone. Think of all the cell phones beeping simultaneously on infamously stuffed trains in Tokyo, like they did across Orange County during a recent wildfire.

Residents in Sagamihara, my hometown, are particularly fretted, Takahisa said, because it has a UNITED STATE military base, which they assume might end up being a target.

“I wish that The U.S.A. is on the exact same page as Japan, sharing the objective of deactivating North Korea of nuclear tools,” claimed Toru Kawabata, the chief of Chugoku Branch for the Komei Press, a media organization of the Komeito Celebration.

The delegation came to Orange Region last week, conference area as well as state politicians, obtaining an excursion of Orange County Water District’s groundwater replenishment system and going to Richard Nixon Library and UC Irvine.

Rieko Fukuda, a Liberal Democratic Party member of the Shunan City board, claimed she was motivated to see women, such as board supervisors Michelle Steel as well as Lisa Bartlett, both of whom are Eastern, acting as top-level officials. It’s still rare to see women in politics in Japan, especially at the regional level, she said.

La Palma City Councilman Peter Kim served as the delegation’s host in Orange Area. Kim, 33, took a trip to China as well as Taiwan in 2014 through a comparable exchange program by the American Council of Youthful Political Leaders, whose local graduates include Congressmen Ed Royce as well as Dana Rohrabacher.

“It was fantastic to fulfill young political leaders from both nations,” Kim said, reviewing his 2014 trip. “A great deal of our alum are currently in the federal government and also they have the ability to utilize those partnerships.”

Kawabata agrees.

“An exchange program such as this could not have an instant impact,” he said. “But I believe that a build-up of such experiences will lead to an even more powerful U.S.-Japan partnership.”

One point they want the Americans to know, delegates said, is what does it cost? the Japanese love the United States.

It’s not tough to feeling that affinity, or also appreciation, when you see the wealth of American retailers and restaurants in Tokyo, where people proudly use New York as well as L.a caps as well as Tees as style.

Their passion in the USA shows up to have expanded after Donald Trump was chosen as president. Japanese media have actually connected to me to create and chat regarding how Americans really feel about this previous governmental election and also just how they see Japan.

“It’s most likely the international country we feel closest to,” stated Kawabata, who lives in Hiroshima, where the United States dropped the first atomic bomb. “Japan and the UNITED STATE have conquered some disputes, such as profession rubbings, to build a strong partnership.”

Takahisa stated he was impressed by international perspectives held by several top-level officials he fulfilled during the journey. That experience has actually taught him to think about residential issues from a more comprehensive factor of view also at the city degree, he said.

“I was only considering Sagamihara’s education just within a domestic context, yet I must also compare our system to that of the United States, China, Korea and other nations,” he said.

As a journalist, I wish to do the same. While the world is a small location, it additionally is significant, complete of things waiting to be found.

I can not wait to satisfy Takahisa once more one day, and also hope that by after that we will certainly have both contributed to making this globe a far better place.

Leave a Reply