The Pottawatomie County Attorney leaves next week for Japan. County Attorney Matt Wilbers was selected by the American Council of Young Political Leaders. A grant funded in part by the U.S. State Department finances several political-leader-exchange programs throughout the year. Wilbers says out of some 500 people nominated, he was chosen as one of eight young American political leaders to go to Japan for two weeks. Wilbers says this group has conducted this kind of exchange all over the world, involving about 90 different countries so far. There’s an exchange with Japan every year, and Wilbers says as a close ally and important economic partner, the State Department wants to ensure we keep a good relationship with Japan. The western Iowa prosecutor says part of the goal is to promote understanding, sending young leaders who might be policy-makers some day to meet their counterparts in the other nation. Wilbers says the overview of political, economic and social issues will give him and the other visitors a better idea of what the Japanese are facing. He’s not bothered that he doesn’t know a word of Japanese. Wilbers says that area of the world has always fascinated him, and he’s looking forward to the trip of a lifetime. The two-week trip begins a week from Thursday. On January 12 he’ll fly to Washington, DC, for a two-day briefing with the State Department and then they’ll fly to Japan. The State Department and young leaders’ group pays all expenses, travel, lodging and meals. Wilbers says the only requirement he knew of was to be under 40, and he fits that criteria. As for his future aspirations as a leader, he says he’ll “almost certainly” run for re-election in two years but can’t predict what he’ll do after that.
You are here: / / Western Iowan headed for Japan