Natasha Asghar MS is brimming with ideas to bring to Wales in a bid to benefit residents following a hugely successful trip to Japan.


The South Wales East politician visited Tokyo as part of a fact-finding mission to look at the differences and similarities between Japan and Wales when it comes to things like transport, technology, health, and education.


Natasha kick-started her trip with a meeting at the British Embassy in Tokyo with UK Ambassador to Japan, Julia Longbottom.


Nastasha and Julia Longbottom
Natasha and the Ambassador (Supplied)

The pair discussed a range of topics including Japan’s education system, public transport network, economy, and health service.


One area Natasha was particularly interested in finding out more about, was the ‘Silver Centres’, which have proven to be incredibly popular in Japan.


Staff at Central Japan Railways welcomed Natasha onboard the Shinkansen - also known as a bullet train - to get a taste of modern-day transport.


On the railway... (Supplied)

This followed a meeting with senior staff at Central Japan Railway in their Tokyo headquarters.


The group discussed the company’s history, plans for the future, logistics of high-speed railways, affordability, and efficiency.


Natasha received an exclusive viewing and Q&A at the company’s general control centre which looks after train operation, rolling stock, electric power, infrastructure, signals, and telecommunications.


Not only that, but the centre gathers and analyses information when it comes to things like rain, earthquakes, maintenance and makes decisions before giving orders to the field.


With a maximum speed of 285km an hour, more than 470,000 passengers use the Shinkansen every day with some 373 daily departures.


Since launching in 1964, there have been zero fatalities or injuries and the annual average delay per train is less than one minute.


The Shinkansen visit also provided an opportunity for Natasha to experience truly integrated transport - something she strongly believes in - and will be raising with the Welsh Government going forward.


Natasha invited representatives from the company to visit Wales and see first-hand the stark difference in the public transport offering back home.


Students at the British School in Tokyo took time out of their busy day for a talk and Q&A session with Natasha.


Natasha gave them an insight into workings of the Welsh Parliament, an overview of the Senedd building, discussed her career journey, some of the many highlights of the job so far and of course 20mph speed limits.


It also gave students, many from the UN Model, the opportunity to share what they thought worked well in Japan and could be replicated in Wales.

Natasha also visited the Meiji Shrine, which is the Shinto shrine dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.

 Whilst there, Natasha wrote a votive tablet on behalf of her constituents across South Wales East.

Commenting on her trip, Natasha Asghar MS said: “Japan is light years ahead of Wales in some areas, and vice versa, so it was great to be able to see that first-hand, discuss ideas, and explore what we could do differently back home.


“Not only has this trip been hugely beneficial for me as a Member of the Senedd and as Shadow Minister for Transport and Technology, but it has also been a fantastic opportunity for me to showcase Wales, and the Welsh Parliament, to Japan.


“I have learnt a lot in the short time I was in Tokyo, and I am looking forwarding to raising some of the things I’ve uncovered with the new Welsh Government and working with ministers to implement them in a bid to bring big benefits to residents across the country, with the first steps hopefully starting in South Wales East.”