The 1997 Congressional delegation visit to Japan, the second phase of the Joint Parliamentary Study and Dialogue Project on US-Japan Security Relations in Asia Pacific, took place from August 24–29, 1997. The US group—the 22nd delegation to travel to Japan on JCIE’s US-Japan Parliamentary Exchange program—included five current members of Congress, four of whom were visiting Japan for the first time, and one former member of Congress.
The program consisted of briefings by Japanese experts on the changing sociopolitical and economic situation in the country; meetings with political leaders, including Koichi Kato, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, Ichiro Ozawa, president of the Shinshinto Party, Takako Doi, chair of the Democratic Party of Japan, and Naoto Kan and Yukio Hatoyama, co-chairs of the Democratic Party; and discussions with key government and business figures. The group learned of the intricacies of Japanese politics, with its ongoing party realignments and policy differences. Delegates were also given a taste of Japanese perspectives on security in Northeast Asia, with Diet members speaking frankly—sometimes disagreeing among themselves—on such issues as US troops in Okinawa, the new Guidelines for US-Japan Security, and instability on the Korean peninsula. Tony Hall (Democrat of Ohio), a member of the US delegation who had traveled to North Korea on several occasions, added to the dialogue by reporting on the famine there. The last two days of the visit took place at a retreat and discussions with Diet members there concerned the changing Asia Pacific security environment and managing future challenges to US-Japan relations.
HERBERT BATEMAN, Republican, Virginia (House of Representatives)
ENI FALEOMAVAEGA, Democrat, American Samoa (House of Representatives)
TONY HALL, Democrat, Ohio (House of Representatives)
PATSY MINK, Democrat, Hawaii (House of Representatives)
JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Republican, Wisconsin (House of Representatives)
BILL FRENZEL, Former Member, House of Representatives, Republican, Minnesota; Guest Scholar, Governmental Studies, Brookings Institution [Special Participant]