From January 11 to January 15, seven Diet members visited the United States for meetings with top politicians, policymakers, analysts, and US business leaders. The group was the 24th delegation of Japanese legislators to visit the United States under JCIE’s US-Japan Parliamentary Exchange Program. Highlights of the trip included meetings with Dr. Henry Kissinger, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly, as well as public seminars in New York and Washington DC.
House of Representatives
KAZUHIRO HARAGUCHI Democratic Party ,of Japan (DPJ), Saga
TATSUYA ITO, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Tokyo Proportional Representation District
KENJI KOSAKA, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Nagano [DELEGATION LEADER]
HAKUBUN SHIMOMURA, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Tokyo
SHU WATANABE, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), Shizuoka
House of Councillors
KOJI MATSUI, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), Kyoto Prefecture
KIYOHIKO TOYAMA, New Komeito, Proportional District
Sunday, January 11
Seminar on US. Foreign Policy and Security Policy
Ambassador Rust Deming, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University
Paul Stares, Director of Research and Studies Program, United States Institute of Peace
Bruce Stokes, Columnist, The National Journal
Dinner hosted by Ambassador Ryozo Kato
Monday, January 12
Seminar on US Domestic Political Developments at the Brookings Institution
Ambassador Strobe Talbott, President, The Brookings Institution
Thomas Mann, W. Averell Harriman Chair and Senior Fellow in Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution
Hon. David Skaggs, Executive Director, Center for Democracy & Citizenship, Council for Excellence in Government; former Member, U.S. House of Representatives
The US Economy and US-Japan Economic Relations Luncheon discussion hosted by American International Group
Oakley Johnson, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, American International Group (AIG)
Jim Fatheree, President and COO, U.S.-Japan Business Council
John Castellani, President, Business Roundtable
Hon. James Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
Welcome Reception for the Diet Delegation
Dinner Meeting with Leading Members of the Japanese Media
Hirotsugu Aida, Bureau Chief, Washington Bureau, Kyodo News
Yukio Kashiyama, Bureau Chief, Washington Bureau, Sankei Shimbun
Ryuichi Teshima, Bureau Chief, NHK Washington Bureau
Yoichi Nishimura, Bureau Chief, American General Bureau, Asahi Shimbun
Tuesday, January 13
The US Congressional Agenda: Briefing by Senior Congressional Staff
Skip Fischer, Professional Staff Member, Senate Banking Committee
Donald Marron, Executive Director, Joint Economic Committee
R. Michael Schiffer, Legislative Director, Office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein
Mike Sheehy, National Security Advisor to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
Hon. Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense and Department of Defense Briefing
“Japanese Politics after the General Election: Implications for the U.S.-Japan Relationship”
Public Luncheon Seminar with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
Representative Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), Ranking Member, House Committee on Government Reform
National Security Council Meeting with Michael Green, Senior Director for Asian Affairs
Hon. Randal Quarles, Assistant Secretary, International Affairs, Department of the Treasury
Randal Quarles, Assistant Secretary, International Affairs, Department of the Treasury
Robert Dohnor, Office Director for East Asian Nations
Dinner with Leaders in the U.S.-Japan Community—Hosted by William Breer
William Breer, Japan Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
Professor Nathaniel Thayer, Director of Japan Studies, School of Advanced International Studies, The Johns Hopkins University
Ambassador William Clark, Jr., President, Japan-America Student Conference
James McNaughton, Vice President, Asia Investment Consultants
Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow, Office of the Japan Chair, CSIS
NEW YORK PORTION
Wednesday, January 14
Dr. Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State
Luncheon Hosted by Consulate General of New York
Timothy Geithner, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Timothy Geithner, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; former U.S .Treasury Under Secretary for International Affairs
Terrence Checki, Executive Vice President, Emerging Markets and International Affairs Group)
“The Outlook on Japanese Politics and US-Japan Relations in 2004”
Public Panel Discussion with the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York (JCCI-NY)
Dinner with Business Leaders hosted by the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York (JCCI-NY)
Thursday, January 15
Depart New York
Seven Diet members, representing Japan’s three major ruling and opposition parties, visited Washington DC, and New York City on January 11-15, 2004, for a series of high-level dialogues with senior administration officials, Congressional leaders, and policy experts on international security, economic policy, domestic politics, and US-Japan relations. The program was organized as part of JCIE’s US-Japan Parliamentary Program and included meetings with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and senior foreign policy experts such as Dr. Henry Kissinger and Strobe Talbott as well as two widely attended public seminars in Washington and New York.
A nongovernmental and nonpartisan exchange, the US-Japan Parliamentary Exchange Program was launched in 1968 and stands as the longest-running exchange of its kind. In its 36-year history, it has brought more than 270 members of the US Congress and Japanese Diet to their counterparts’ country, many on multiple occasions, and the visit of the 24th Diet Delegation to the United States continues a long tradition of convening key leaders to discuss emerging international issues in a private, frank, and productive manner. JCIE’s longstanding efforts to include rising, young leaders in the program has allowed it to nurture an understanding of the US-Japan alliance relationship and its role in the international system among a wide range of parliamentarians who contribute to policymaking at the very highest levels; program alumni include two former Japanese prime ministers, two US vice presidents, and numerous cabinet ministers, party heads, and legislative leaders.
The visit of the 24th Delegation proved to be especially timely, coming one week before Japan was to send its Self Defense Forces to Iraq to aid the reconstruction effort, the first dispatch of Japanese troops into a conflict area since World War II. This groundbreaking dispatch marks a dramatic evolution of the constitutional limits on military action, and has been highly controversial in Japan, with vital implications for the future of the US-Japan alliance. Also, the timing of the visit a few days before the opening of the 2004 Diet session allowed the delegation members to forewarn policymakers and leaders in the US-Japan community about the heated political competition that will very soon emerge in the run-up to the summer Upper House elections, which are beginning to be seen as a potential turning point for the Koizumi administration.
Meetings with Congressional leaders and senior administration officials such as Secretary Rumsfeld and Assistant Secretary of State Jim Kelly allowed the delegation members to discuss the evolution of the US-Japan alliance and relay their sense that more attention needs to be paid to underlying tensions in the relationship. Representatives of both the ruling coalition and the opposition shared their concerns about the difficulty they face in explaining Japan’s military involvement in Iraq to their constituents, revealing that they are encountering widespread sentiment that their country has been dragged into Iraq by its alliance obligations. Several asserted that the Koizumi administration has not made a convincing case supporting involvement in Iraq in its own right, and admitted that, in the current environment, they, too, often find themselves justifying the dispatch of troops as a necessary trade-off to ensure the US security commitment in dealing with North Korea. Worries about a backlash among the Japanese public underlie their doubts about the widespread characterization of the US-Japan relationship as the strongest it has ever been, leading them to explain that, from their eyes, it appears much more fragile than many American leaders realize.
The North Korean nuclear crisis also was a central issue of discussion, as American leaders reassured the delegation members that the United States is fully committed to a diplomatic resolution. Diet members from both the ruling coalition and the opposition explained that the domestic political debate in Japan is marked by a sense that greater priority should be placed on the issue of abducted Japanese citizens in multilateral negotiations with Pyongyang. Meanwhile, US leaders emphasized the complexities of dealing with North Korea, and expressed their hopes for the full and positive engagement of Japan in resolving the crisis.
The visit also provided an opportunity for an exchange of views on domestic political dynamics in both countries. The delegation members were briefed on US developments in several of their meetings with Congressional members, leaders of major policy research institutions, and key legislative staff, and a great deal of concern was expressed about the impact of the polarization of domestic politics on US foreign policy. Similar worries about the rise of a more populist style of policymaking in Japan were brought up in a number of discussions.
The delegation members shared their thoughts at two widely attended public seminars, one in Washington DC that was hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and attracted an audience of more than 70, and a second in New York hosted by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York (JCCI) that drew approximately 90 people. In addition to discussing the state of US-Japan relations, several of them used these occasions to explain to American and Japanese opinion leaders that support for the revision of the Japanese constitution is growing rapidly, and that revision should be a much more positive step than is often perceived.
While the immediate benefits of their discussions were clear to the delegation members and their American counterparts, given the rapidly evolving international environment, three aspects of the program hinted at the cumulative impact of years of regularized exchanges between political leaders. The longevity and continuity of the program was highlighted in a sentimental fashion by the participation of Representative Shu Watanabe, whose father, the late Representative Ro Watanabe, had been a key member of the 3rd Diet Delegation almost three decades earlier. Meanwhile, the strength of the network of personal ties that has been nurtured by the program was in evidence as a number of former participants from the US side met with this year’s delegation members. (Likewise, visit activities were joined by more than 20 alumni of JCIE’s US Congressional Staff Exchange Program and the US-Japan Young Political Leaders Exchange Program, which is operated in cooperation with the American Council for Young Political Leaders.) Lastly, the long-term value of political exchange as a pillar of the US-Japan relationship was illustrated persuasively by Secretary Rumsfeld, who related how his experiences on JCIE’s initial parliamentary exchange as a third-term congressman imparted him with a deeper understanding and respect for his Japanese counterparts that he has drawn upon in his dealings with Japan ever since.