JLGC News Summer 2019

15 Whitehall

15 Whitehall office

‘Host Town’ Meeting Japan

JLGC supported the organising of an event in Tokyo hosted by the Embassy of Germany in Japan and CLAIR HQ Tokyo, looking at local authority links between Germany and Japan and activities in the run-up to Tokyo 2020.

The Cabinet Office of the Japanese Government has been advancing its ‘Host Town’ programme in the run-up to 2020, supporting Japanese local authorities capitalising on the games coming to Japan and spread the impact of the Games throughout the country.

JLGC London’s Berlin representative Ms Irmelind Kirchner presented on sports policies in local government throughout Germany at the event aimed at helping Japan’s municipalities plan and organise projects and student exchange based on twinning links and sports.

Many local authorities in Japan are using national teams based in their areas as an opportunity to promote sports with events and training with local youngsters and sporting professionals, who will be based throughout the country at training camps.

MIC training programme participants

JLGC welcomed three staff from Japanese local authorities as part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications’ (MIC) annual ‘Mushashugyo’ (literally samurai training) study programme, offering overseas learning for local authority officers to research specific themes overseas in the UK and Europe.

MIC is the parent ministry of CLAIR, responsible for local government in Japan.  The three staff are in the UK using JLGC’s office in London as a base from June until the start of September, from Chiba and Yamanashi Prefectures, as well as Itami City in Hyogo prefecture, researching pharmaceutical provisions in the NHS, education and London topics connected to cycle hire, the Olympics and branding respectively.

Global Devolution: Sapporo City

An independent report by a former UK Deputy Prime Minister has cited the case of Sapporo City in Japan as a leading example of global best practice in city region devolution, with some support from JLGC contributing data for the publication.

Lord Heseltine’s report Empowering English Cities (PDF), commissioned by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and backed by six English Metro Mayors, sets out a series of proposals to boost city regions and devolve further funding and powers from government.

The report draws on the example of Sapporo (p45), which is Japan’s fifth-largest city and a cluster for ICT, digital and biotech firms.

For more details, please see the WMCA press release here (JLGC is not responsible for the content of external websites).

Ireland JET reception

JLGC Deputy Director General Mr Narutoshi Kimata gave the kampai (toast) to 43 new Irish graduates at the 2019 JET Programme Pre-Departure Orientation and Farewell Reception, with all participants full of excitement and enthusiasm about heading to the many prefectures spread across Japan later this month.

Presenters during the day provided insight and advice this year, many of them JET alumni, with much for all the participants to take in. The reception attendees for the 2019 cohort also gave them a great send-off. Thank you to Ambassador Miyoshi and the Embassy of Japan in Ireland for organising and hosting the event and the invitation to JLGC to attend.

LGA Conference 2019 Bournemouth

Assistant Directors from JLGC accompanied by local staff joined the LGA Conference 2019 in Bournemouth for the first time this July, meeting local government colleagues from all over England and having the opportunity to listen to well-known speakers, such as Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

While local government events in Japan for officers are common, a national event for all officers and elected members to mingle freely and view exhibitions, as well as attend plenaries and Q&As is not a common feature of local government in Japan.

JLGC was able to meet up with colleagues old and new, in particular over Japan Study Tour, luminaries of which are often to be found at the event.  Many thanks to all colleagues for meeting with JLGC and to new acquaintances for their interest in the work of the office and our programmes.

Japan Day Düsseldorf

JLGC again put out a stall at the German city’s famous Japan festival on 25 May, providing tourist information and carrying out market research, and staff were also able to attend a reception held by the Mayor to meet with stakeholders in the twinning relationship between the City and Chiba Prefecture, this year marked by a visit by Chiba Governor Kensaku Morita and Speaker of the Chiba Prefecture Assembly Mitsuru Yoshimoto, to sign an official wide-ranging partnership agreement with Düsseldorf Oberbürgermeister (Lord Mayor) Thomas Geisel.

The 18th Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW transformed the river Rhine embankment promenade into a backdrop for celebrating Japan and Germany’s friendship. 600,000 visitors were given a taste of Japanese culture and celebrated with Düsseldorf’s 30,000 strong Japanese community. Both traditional and modern aspects of the country, ranging from calligraphy to cosplay, were on show at 70 information and activity tents including JLGC’s.

Many thanks again to local government colleagues in Düsseldorf City Hall for their support and welcome.