On February 13–20, 2010, seven Congressional staff members participated in the 21st US Congressional Staff Exchange Program in Tokyo and Kanagawa, Japan. The trip came at a time when the US-Japan relationship is evolving after the election of new administrations in both countries, and much of the dialogue focused on how to revitalize US-Japan relations amid the shifting political landscape. Against the backdrop of the global financial crisis, US-Japan cooperation on financial and trade issues also emerged as a major theme of the meetings.
Over the course of their weeklong visit, the delegation met with high-level Diet members from both of Japan’s leading political parties—the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)—including members of the new DPJ Cabinet such as Hon. Motohisa Furukawa (Senior Vice Minister for Economic and Fiscal Policy, Science and Technology Policy, and Government Revitalization), Hon. Tetsuro Fukuyama (Senior Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs), and Hon. Hiroyuki Nagahama (Senior Vice Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare). They also sat down for in-depth discussions with Japanese ministry officials, US embassy representatives, and business leaders.
On the last day of their Tokyo program, the staff delegates participated as panelists in a popular public seminar on changing US politics, which was attended by over 80 Diet members and staff, government officials, think tank experts, and business leaders. The delegation then departed for Kanagawa Prefecture, where they exchanged views with Kanagawa Governor Shigefumi Matsuzawa and met with security experts and military leaders at the National Defense Academy of Japan and the US Yokosuka Naval Base.
SETH BLOOM, General Counsel, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Senate Judiciary Committee
GREG DEAN, Minority Chief Counsel and Pension Policy Director, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
ASHLEY JONES, Chief of Staff, Rep. John Barrow
GEORGE R. ROGERS, Policy Advisor and Counsel, Minority Leader John Boehner
ARTHUR D. SIDNEY, Chief of Staff, Rep. Hank Johnson
KRISTIN McKENZIE SMITH, Deputy Chief of Staff, Rep. Denny Rehberg
DESIREE WESTBY, Deputy Chief of Staff, Rep. Erik Paulsen