News

Women's Caucus to Launch in Japan

On August 22nd, Japan will join Country Committees across the world in working to advance the rights of women when DAJ launches its Democrats Abroad Women's Caucus event. 


Women are taking a beating under this administration. But we will not sit back and take it. Democrats Abroad Japan is joining the Democrats Abroad Global Women's Caucus to show our strength, strategize about how to make our issues and concerns a priority to politicians, to identify politicians who help us for our fight for equality and how to motivate people to vote in the midterm elections.

Join us for our first meeting. Our discussion will be "Is feminism a bad label? What does feminism mean in today's environment?" "How do young feminists differ from middle-aged or older feminists?" "Can you be a feminist and NOT support a women's right to choose?" "What issues are important to today's feminists?" 

For more information and to RSVP, go to our events page at https://www.democratsabroad.org/jp-kanto_events

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Women's Caucus to Launch in Japan

On August 22nd, Japan will join Country Committees across the world in working to advance the rights of women when DAJ launches its Democrats Abroad Women's Caucus event. 


Women are taking a beating under this administration. But we will not sit back and take it. Democrats Abroad Japan is joining the Democrats Abroad Global Women's Caucus to show our strength, strategize about how to make our issues and concerns a priority to politicians, to identify politicians who help us for our fight for equality and how to motivate people to vote in the midterm elections.

Join us for our first meeting. Our discussion will be "Is feminism a bad label? What does feminism mean in today's environment?" "How do young feminists differ from middle-aged or older feminists?" "Can you be a feminist and NOT support a women's right to choose?" "What issues are important to today's feminists?" 

For more information and to RSVP, go to our events page at https://www.democratsabroad.org/jp-kanto_events

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We Need More Women In Politics--Here's Why

An Ode to the Women Who Have Shaped Me

I had a conversation recently that shook me to my core.

It was a normal conversation about politics that progressed to a one-sided shouting match. I was the calm one, but defended my criticisms of Trump and what I consider to be black-hearted conservative policies. Then, the person asked me, “Why do you even care? You don’t even live in America.”

God, I wish I had $10,000 for every time I was asked that question. But I calmly answered. “Because I have kids who are going to have to live in the world we are creating, because my husband and I would like to move back to the US someday, and because I love my country and want what’s best for all Americans. Because I’m American.”

“That’s debatable,” was the response from someone I know well (or thought I did) and respect, even though we disagree politically. From someone who I always thought respected me.

It felt like an earthquake. Like when the ground that has always been there to support you suddenly jerks and jolts and knocks you off your feet and tosses you around.

A few other hurtful insults were thrown at me, criticizing me for my liberal beliefs, with the result that I have spent significant time recently reflecting on how I developed from a Reagan-voting, military-loving, individualism-touting, bootstrap-raising, my-way-or-the-highway bullying, I-deserve-all-I have white woman to the compassionate and passionate liberal that I am today. I was raised conservative, but conservatism is as antithetical to me today as it was appealing when I was young. What changed me?

The amazing women who have been part of my life.

Of course it’s not that simple—no one who travels to foreign countries, attends university, reads extensively, has an astute partner, and lives abroad remains unchanged. But when I think about the moments that literally shifted my behaviour or way of thinking, they were connected to some woman in my life:

A boss, the first who cared about me as a person and not solely as an employee, who challenged my views on marriage and motherhood, and shared her feelings of lonliness as she grew older without a companion; my friend who showed me there was humor to be found in the frustration of raising kids, and if you didn’t tap into that humor, your children would suffer; another friend who was betrayed in the worst way but stood strong and fought for her future when it would have been so much easier to crumble; a colleague who pointed out my hypocrisy by asking a simple question, “How is your viewpoint less ideological?”; my female colleagues and now friends who supported each other when a misogynistic manager bullied and abused us while the male management did nothing; the role-model mothers in my community who patiently dealt with temper tantrums, unreasonable demands, and teenage snark; friends, family and colleagues who taught me how to be a friend, to open my mind to new possibilities, to listen, to understand that privilege is as much responsible for my success as my own efforts, and most importantly, to reflect on and challenge my own views, then to change them if they didn’t meet that challenge.

None of these women were aware at the time that they were influencing me. They didn’t see themselves as models of human behaviour with a mission to change someone’s worldview. Heck, I didn’t know how much they were influencing me. It took that face-slapping comment from a friend for me to reflect on and see how by simply being authentic and open, they helped mold a better human, a better citizen.

When you look at history’s list of heroes, so few are women. We rarely get the glory for our accomplishments. Yet our influence reaches deep into our societies. We are accomplished in our own right and inspire others to achieve. So many of our reactions and conversations appear to be insignificant moments that drift into the ether, but they actually resonate years later in the behaviour of our children, friends, strangers, and even ourselves. Our routine moments take on a life of their own when someone sees them as a way of coping with difficulties. Our day-to-day life is the ultimate example of soft power.

But we also aspire to more. Some of us want to play a stronger role in our government and businesses. And because we are women, we are told by other women to support each other. Madeline Albright famously said, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

Hell aside, we SHOULD be helping each other. It is unfathomable to me that it was a woman who stopped the Equal Rights Amendment. I’m still furious that women helped elect a misogynist racist to the highest political office. And it is women who are often the most vicious critics of female celebrities, politicians and neighbors. They are a minority, but their power has been accentuated because so many of us have NOT been politically engaged. Now we are. But marches and protests are not enough.

We need more women in office. Run for office. Support a candidate. Vote.

The conversation I experienced was like an earthquake. So, too, was the election of Donald Trump. But like after every earthquake, there is a time for reuilding. For making what was destroyed better, stronger, more resilient.

We need more women in office. Run for office. Support a candidate. Vote.

There is a record number of women running for office this year. Not all deserve your vote (some are like Phyllis Schlafley who would take away our rights), but they all deserve your attention. I’m a Democrat and hope that every woman elected this year has a (D) after their name. But it is also important to keep in mind that it was two Republican women—Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski—who stood against their Party and voted to keep the Affordable Care Act, who are on record for being against overturning Roe v. Wade. Don’t support a woman candidate because she is a woman; support her because her actions will influence others to be strong, tolerant, compassionate, and engaged.

Yes, we influence with our soft power. But we can have an even stronger influence on our families, fellow Americans and country.

To do that, we need more women in office. Run for office. Support a candidate. Vote.

Vote. Vote. Vote.

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Trump Visit to Japan: Vote Out the Scandal at the Shibuya Scramble

This rally coincides with President Trump’s visit to Tokyo. We encourage Americans and others to join us. As Americans overseas, we want to make clear to President Trump and all U.S. elected officials that we expect our government to represent American values and principles throughout the world -- and not to promote fear, hate and division

Stand with us and make it clear that the current state of American government is NOT acceptable. Come make your voice heard and share a message to demand the economic, social, racial, and environmental justice that we deserve from this administration.

Also, help Americans living in Japan learn how to register to vote from abroad, the most fundamental act of resistance! (All similarly minded individuals are welcome to attend!)

We encourage Americans across Japan to join us in making a pledge to register to vote on January 1st, 2018. With other US citiizens in America and around the globe, we will use our votes to help replace current elected officials who support irresponsible policies that jeopardize the lives of Americans -- both at home and overseas, including in Japan -- with candidates who support positive, constructive alternatives.

DATE/TIME: Sunday, Nov. 5th, 2:00 to 4:00PM
LOCATION: Hachiko in front of Shibuya Station near scramble crossing

NOTE: In line with Japanese police rules, we will not be calling out individual politicians by name. Please be creative with your signs! (Police will ask that any signs bearing Trump's name be removed.)
Suggested template: "Don't like _______? VOTE!" or "Want ______? VOTE!" eg. "Don't like healthcare dismantled? VOTE!" or "Don't like a bully in the White House? VOTE!" or "Want diplomacy over warmongering? VOTE!"

Laws and regulations should be based on an understanding of the daily challenges facing average Americans. The White House and its allies are pushing for huge tax breaks for the rich while stripping regulatory agencies of the authority and resources to protect the health, safety and welfare of all Americans, and gutting programs meant to protect the most vulnerable. The administration has also undermined the efforts of career diplomats to maintain regional stability and cooperation in Asia. As Americans living in Japan, we urge the administration to abandon its saber-rattling and pursue sensible solutions, using diplomacy to avoid conflicts that threaten the lives of our service members and millions of civilians.

The U.S. government has a duty and obligation to fulfill its responsibilities to the people. As Americans living abroad, we will continue to speak truth to power and vote for new leaders who will represent true American values and principles.

Trump, it's time for you to pay close attention to Americans across the world. We will resist your agenda, and we will make sure that you are held accountable; we will accept nothing less because we know that you are unfit for the office of the President of the United States.

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Our Lives are on the Line! Post your healthcare story using #ourlives.

 

Health care is one of the defining issues of our time. The Affordable Care Act is by no means perfect, but the Republican plan for health care will be a giant step back, no matter which one they end up voting on this week.

On July 29th, Democrats Abroad Japan is joining Our Lives On the Line in a national and worldwide day of action to change the health care debate.

Read more

Statement on the USS Fitzgerald

Friends,

This morning at approximately 2:30AM the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) was involved in a collision with the Philippine flagged merchant vessel ACX Crystal. The cause of the collision is unknown at this time. 

It is with a heavy heart that Democrats Abroad Japan extends its condolences to the U.S. Navy community of Naval Base Yokosuka and to the families and crew members of the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) as they mourn the loss of seven Sailors who have have unfortunately perished in the collision. We would like to offer our deepest sympathies and support to those affected by this terrible tragedy. We would also like to commend the brave crew members of the USS Fitzgerald for their best efforts in keeping the ship afloat and returning the rest of the crew safely ashore.

Our thoughts are also with the three Sailors taken to the Yokosuka Naval Hospital and we wish them a speedy recovery. We offer praise to our Japanese allies for their assistance in the search and rescue operations and for guiding the ship safely home. If you would like to find out more about providing assistance for those affected by this tragic event, please visit the Naval Base Yokosuka Facebook page by clicking here.

Democrats Abroad Japan understands the remarkable service our men and women in uniform undertake each and every day. Today we pause to honor those fallen who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

On behalf of our community, fair winds and following seas Shipmates. Your watch is over.

In Solidarity,
Alexander C. Gonzalez
Chair, Democrats Abroad Japan
U.S. Navy Veteran


2017 Ballots for National and Kanto Elections

The ballots for the national and Kanto elections have been emailed to the DA Japan membership list. In case anyone missed that email or was unable to receive your ballot, you can download your ballot here.

 

DAJ National Ballot

 

DAJ Kanto Ballot

 

Please note that you must be a member of Democrats Abroad Japan to vote in these elections.  All ballots will be checked against our membership records to ensure that ballots are only counted tallied for members who are US citizens of voting age.

And questions regarding voting in the DA Japan elections should be sent to:

For the national election: dajelectioncommittee@gmail.com

For the Kanto election: kantodajelectioncommittee@gmail.com  


2017 Candidate Statements for National and Kanto Chapter Offices

The Democrats Abroad Japan 2017 Elections are officially underway.  Candidates for national office and Kanto Chapter office have been given the opportunity to submit candidate statements to the Nominations and Election Committees for the national and Kanto elections. A "Meet the Candidates" event was held on April 9, and candidates' videos are posted below. 

 

Please note that a link to the ballots will be e-mailed to the DAJ membership. Ballots must be returned per the instructions of the applicable nominations and election committee (national or Kanto) by May 5, 2017.  Ballots can be cast remotely. The only in-person voting for the national and Kanto Chapter elections will take place at the Democrats Abroad Japan Annual General Meeting at the Wesley Center in Tokyo, Japan at 1:00 pm on Sunday, April 30th. 

National Office: Candidate Statements

Please click here to read the written statements of candidates for national office.

Kanto Chapter Office: Candidate Statements

Please click here to read the written statements of candidates for Kanto Chapter office.

Video Statements

Please click here to watch the candidate videos posted on the DAJ YouTube page.  NOTE: If you are a candidate and you did not have the opportunity to participate in the Meet the Candidates event, please feel free to submit your own video to jp-secretary@democratsabroad.org.  You can also post your video on the DAJ Facebook group.   

 

Elections for the Kansai and Tokai Chapters

In principle, officer elections for National and Chapter offices were supposed to have been held by March 31st in odd-numbered years.  However, the Democrats Abroad Charter was amended in May 2016 by a resolution co-sponsored by DAJ Chair Tom Schmid. This gives all country committees until June 30th of odd-numbered years to hold their elections. Although the Bylaws of Democrats Abroad Japan still indicate, that elections shall be held by March 31st in odd-numbered years, the nominations and elections committees exercised the discretion granted to them in the bylaws to hold the elections by June 30th as a result of extraordinary circumstances, i.e., the change in the rule at the international level.

Thus, the Kansai Chapter will be holding its elections on or before June 30, 2017. Our newest chapter in Tokai currently has provisional officers who will lead the chapter until such time as elections can be called.   If you have any questions about chapter elections, please email DAJ Chair Tom Schmid at jp-chair@democratsabroad.org.

 


Meet the Candidates for National and Kanto Chapter Offices

On April 9, 2017, the Nominations and Election Committee (NEC) hosted a "Meet the Candidates" event at the Wesley Center in Tokyo.  Click here to watch the statements from the candidates who were able to attend.  Voting will begin later this month, and the NEC will prepare and distribute ballots to the membership. 

The list of candidates who declared their nomination for National Office are:

Chair of Democrats Abroad Japan
Alexander Gonzalez

Vice-Chair of Democrats Abroad Japan
Kiyoko Ayukawa
Rebecca Ferderer

Secretary of Democrats Abroad Japan
Rachel Mae Boellstorff 
Gordon Louis Gaul IV

DPCA Voting Representative 
Leslie Anne Rogers
Rachel Covington

Member-at-Large Representing Hokkaido
Ayse Yeager

Member-at-Large Representing Eastern & Northern Honshu

Jenise Treuting

 


Update from the Nominations and Election Committee

Upcoming Election Items

Election season for Democrats Abroad Japan is here, and the Nomination and Elections Committee (NEC) would like to remind you of some very important upcoming events and items concerning the 2017 election cycle.

Meet-The-Candidates Night
Sunday, April 9th, 6-8PM. Room #205.
Candidates and members alike, come meet and discuss the future of Democrats Abroad Japan!
Location: Wesley Center
6-10-11, Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0062, Japan

Election Meeting and Ballot Tallying
Sunday, May 7th, 2-4PM. Room #201.
In the interests of transparency, the ballots for the 2017 election will be counted and tallied for any neutral observers to come watch. In the event of a tie, an immediate special election will be held on-site to determine the election winner for any national office position.  
Location: Wesley Center
6-10-11, Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0062, Japan

Membership Survey
In the 2017 election cycle, the NEC is asking the membership to vote on a question to ask all candidates running for national office. Voting for this survey question will close on Friday, April 7th, at 11:59PM. You can participate by clicking the link below:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeg9O2LOaeCBEVvK_ue0fzN0TpIUEp8-E8HVPEeyNLdO-vDLA/viewform?c=0&w=1

As mentioned in a previous notification, the NEC will also be available at the DAJ General Meeting on Sunday, April 30, 2017, at 1:00 p.m. We will have blank ballots available and have in-person voting at this event.

Best Regards,
John Baumlin
Nomination and Elections Committee Chair
Democrats Abroad Japan