Japanese political leaders visit Lawton

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A group of Japanese delegates with the American Council of Young Political Leaders visited Lawton Thursday as part of a program that lets them learn more about how our government works.

The men and women of the Japanese delegation of ACYPL have gotten an extensive tour of Oklahoma over the last two days.  Wednesday, they visited the capitol building, the cowboy museum and caught a baseball game in Oklahoma City. Thursday, they visited the Oklahoma City bombing memorial before making their way to Lawton, where they learned about education at the Great Plains Technology Center and headed out to the wildlife refuge.

The trip to Oklahoma was intended to compare our state government to how things work in Japan.

"There's a lot of differences and common points between Japan and America. But why, what are the different politics and different schemes of politics and parties in America and Japan," said Masataka Shiono, one of the delegates.

The leaders from Japan are in America for two weeks as part of a state department program through the American Council for Young Political Leaders. Joe Dorman is the Oklahoma leader of the group, which he said is all about bringing people together.

"To bring young political leaders together to learn about the different cultures and the different political systems. It's been my pleasure to host this delegation from Japan over the last two days to expose them to some of the great things about Oklahoma and some of the things that we're doing right that could translate to Japanese culture and their system," Dorman said.

Dorman said the program gives them a great chance to show others the truth about Oklahoma.

"The stereotype we have out there, people aren't sure about Oklahoma. To have that opportunity to bring young leaders from another nation to our home state and show the truth about Oklahoma," Dorman said.

As part of the program, young leaders from across America will also be sent to countries around the world to learn about their political system. Dorman said it is a great opportunity to form relationships for the future.

"We want to inspire that goodwill and the good feelings about the United States so when they go home, and they move up the ranks in their political system, they will think fondly of Oklahoma. It certainly has the opportunity to increase trade and tourism, but it also improves the relations for things like a sister city. Oklahoma has a sister city with Kyoto. We want to be able to expand those opportunities for the future and just build better feelings going forward," Dorman said.

The leaders from Japan said they enjoyed Oklahoma but their favorite part has been the food. On their way to Lawton, they stopped at Jake's Rib in Chickasha and said they were amazed by how big the portions were.

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