Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Thomas S. Foley Legislative Exchange

The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Thomas S. Foley Legislative Exchange (Foley Exchange) is a new initiative launched by the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC) and the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation. The new Foley Exchange, a public-private partnership between the JUSFC and the Mansfield Foundation, brings together the Thomas S. Foley Legislative Exchange,the U.S.-Japan Legislative Exchange Program (LEP) and the U.S.-Japan- South Korea Trilateral Legislative Exchange Program (TLEP).



The Thomas S. Foley Legislative Exchange program was established in 2014 to honor the late Ambassador Thomas S. Foley, known for his long commitment to public service and his leadershipin strengthening U.S.-Japan relations as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1965-1995), 57th Speaker of the House (1989-1995), and the United States’ ambassador to Japan (1997-2001). Ambassador Foley believed in the importance of dialogue and regular exchanges between elected officials from the United States and Japan. Since it began in 2014, the Foley Exchange has hosted three delegations, bringing thirteen members of Japan’s National Diet to Washington, D.C

From 1989 to 2015, with funding from the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, the George Washington University Elliott School of International Studies organized the U.S.-Japan Legislative Exchange Program (LEP). This longstanding initiative brought together more than 300 U.S.members of Congress and members of Japan’s National Diet on a semi-annual basis for in-depth and informal discussions. The exchanges covered a broad range of political, economic and security issues affecting U.S.-Japan relations. The LEP was later expanded to include South Korean National Assembly members (Trilateral LEP).

In 2016 these very important programs will come together under a vibrant new public-private partnership between the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission and the Mansfield Foundation as the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Thomas S. Foley Legislative Exchange. Funding for the program is provided by the JUSFC, the Mansfield Foundation, the Japan Economic Foundation(JEF), and the Korean National Assembly Parliamentary Office.



Beginning in 2016, the Mansfield Foundation will organize two semi-annual delegations of the Foley Exchange. The first delegation of next generation legislators from Japan and Korea will comprise 8-10 members of Japan’s National Diet and up to five members of Korea’s  National Assembly, who will visit Washington, D.C. during Japan’s spring Golden Week. Participants will meet with their counterparts in the U.S. Congress as well as with representatives from the executive branch, the policy community, and the private sector.  The second delegation, comprising U.S. members of  Congress, will travel to Tokyo and Seoul the following winter to interact with their counterparts in Japan and Korea.

The exchange will offer the participants a unique opportunity for frank interactions with their counterparts as well as with each other. The Mansfield Foundation will work closely with the JUSFC, the Japan Economic Foundation, the Korean National Assembly Parliamentary Office and with the offices of individual members of  Congress to identify legislators to participate in the program.



The objectives of the Foley Exchange are to:

♦ Build lasting relationships among next generation U.S., Japanese, and Korean elected officials and policy experts, with a primary emphasis on the U.S.- Japan bilateral relationship

♦ Contribute to the participants’ understanding of policymaking processes and practices in each other’s countries; and

♦ Explore opportunities for cooperation on issues of mutual interest




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May 2014.  The Thomas S. Foley Legislative Exchange was launched with an inaugural delegation visit to Washington, D.C. This first delegation of five members of Japan’s House of Representatives included TatsuoFukuda (Liberal Democratic Party, LDP); Motohisa Furukawa (Democratic Party of Japan, DPJ); ShuheiKishimoto (DPJ); Keitaro Ohno (LDP); and Kiyohiko Toyama (New Komeito).


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September 2014. The five members of the second delegation to Washington, D.C. included Toru Ishizaki (House ofRepresentatives, LDP); Takaaki Katsumata (House of Representatives, LDP); Shingo Miyake (House ofCouncillors, LDP); Ken Saito (House of Representatives, LDP); and Yuji Yamamoto (House of Representatives,LDP). The delegation met with Japan Caucus Co-Chair Representative Joaquin Castro (Democrat).


April 2015. The Foundation hosted the third Foley Exchange delegation that included Masako Mori (House of Councillors, LDP); Akihisa Nagashima (House of Representatives, DPJ); and Masahiko Shibayama (House ofRepresentatives, LDP). Participants served as expert panelists at a Mansfield Foundation Capitol Hill symposiumon “The Economic Architecture of East Asia: Trans-Pacific Partnership and Beyond.”



In 2013,  members of Congress, including the Honorable Jim Sensenbrenner (Republican) and the Honorable Jim McDermott (Democrat), seven Japanese Diet members and five South Korean National Assembly members convened for meetings in Japan.


In 2014, Trilateral Legislative Exchange Program participants from the United States, Japan and Korea met in Seoul for a frank exchange of views.


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