Nine members of Japan’s National Diet were in Washington for the third round of the new Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Thomas S. Foley Legislative Exchange. The delegation included House of Councillors members Yukihisa Fujita (Democratic Party, DP), Iwao Horii (Liberal Democratic Party, LDP), Kuniko Inoguchi (LDP), and Hiroe Makiyama (DP), and House of Representatives members Masaharu Nakagawa (DP), Keitaro Ohno (LDP), Takashi Shinohara (DP), Naokazu Takemoto (LDP), and Kozo Yamamoto (Minister of Regional Revitalization, Cabinet of Japan, LDP). Six of these Diet members were in the first delegation under the new Foley Exchange in May 2016, and Minister Yamamoto, Councillor Inoguchi, and Representative Shinohara were among the Diet members to participate in the first Asia trip for the Foley Exchange in February 2017.
Heather Foley hosted a welcome dinner for the delegation on April 30, reminding all of the special relationship that the Foleys forged with the people of Japan during their service in the House of Representatives and Tom Foley’s tenure as U.S. ambassador to Japan. On May 1, the delegation had a full day of meetings with government and policy experts, including: Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan Joseph Yun, Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan Michael Beeman, and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Chris Johnstone. On May 2, the group joined a bilateral dialogue in cooperation with the U.S.-Japan Congressional Caucus. This dialogue provided opportunities to exchange views with members of the U.S. House of Representatives and guest discussants on critical bilateral issues including North Korea and regional security, U.S.-Japan economic relations, and the Trump and Abe administrations and the global agenda. U.S.-Japan Congressional Caucus co-chairs Joaquin Castro and Dave Reichert and Representatives Madeleine Bordallo and Larry Bucshon were among the House members to join the bilateral dialogue. Guests discussants included: Ambassador Joseph DeTrani (former Senior Advisor to the Director of National Intelligence); Wendy Cutler (former Acting Deputy USTR); and Michael Auslin (Resident Scholar and Director of Japan Studies, American Enterprise Institute). Members of the Foley Exchange delegation joined other Diet members visiting Washington this week at a welcome reception hosted by a coalition of organizations including the Mansfield Foundation, the Japan Center for International Exchange, the Japan-United States Friendship Commission, U.S. CULCON, the Congressional Study Group on Japan, the U.S.-Japan Council, and Sasakawa USA.