The U.S.-Japan Council Legislative Networking Initiative seeks to:
- Facilitate conversation and exchange between elected officials in the U.S. and Japan at the state, local and national levels.
- Connect Japanese Americans and elected officials for dialogue and exchange.
- Provide elected officials with educational opportunities and resources about critical issues in U.S.-Japan relations.
- Build a network of individuals committed to strengthening U.S.-Japan relations.
The U.S.-Japan Council Legislative Networking Initiative is bi-partisan and does not participate or encourage any lobbying activity.
The Legislative Networking Initiative was initially established to promote relationship-building between U.S. Members of Congress and Japanese Parliamentarians to ensure long-term interest and support for strong U.S.-Japan relations. A second objective was to expand and deepen relations between Japanese American leaders and members of Congress and the Diet. These goals have now been expanded to include state and local elected officials. The Council organizes national and regional networking events that provide opportunities for elected officials to interact with their Japanese American constituents.
In May, USJC joined the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE), The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and a coalition of other U.S.-Japan interest groups in hosting an annual reception on Capitol Hill. The reception welcomed 10 Japanese Diet members—including Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Yoshimasa Hayashi—who were visiting Washington, DC to meet with key officials of Congress. Over 150 leading figures in U.S.-Japan relations attended, including Congressman Mark Takano (Member of the USJC Board of Councilors) and Japanese Ambassador Shinsuke J. Sugiyama.
In May, USJC joined the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE), The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and a coalition of other U.S.-Japan interest groups in hosting a reception on Capitol Hill. The reception welcomed 17 Japanese Diet members who were visiting Washington, DC and brought together over 150 leading figures in U.S.-Japan relations. In July, the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON) and USJC convened the fifth U.S.-Japan Legislative Exchange Summit, facilitating discussions among organizations involved in U.S.- Japan legislative exchange to share resources and increase the number of program participants.
The Council collaborates with other organizations including the Embassy of Japan, Japan-US Friendship Commission, Congressional Study Group on Japan of the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress (FMC), U.S.-Japan Research Institute, Georgetown University, and Meridian International Center among others to play a facilitating role in legislative exchange programming in Washington, DC. The Council arranges meetings for visiting Diet Members and their U.S. counterparts, organizes round table discussions and hosts networking receptions. For example, on March 28, 2012 the Council, together with the FMC Congressional Study Group on Japan, hosted a small reception for Congressional Members and Staff on Capitol Hill, “One and One Hundred Years: Two Anniversaries of the U.S.-Japanese Friendship.” The reception was held in conjunction with the centennial celebration of the gift of the cherry trees.
The Council, together with CULCON (U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange) works to coordinate the legislative exchange efforts in Washington through Legislative Exchange Summits. These summits catalyze coordination and collaboration amongst groups that organize legislative exchange to or from Japan. The sharing of information and resources has greatly enhanced legislative exchange programming and U.S.-Japan-related educational opportunities on Capitol Hill. Two summits have taken place to date, January 2012 and June 2012.
Tokyo American Center Diet Exchange – In 2011, the U.S.-Japan Council administered a small legislative exchange for up-and-coming Diet Members together with the Tokyo American Center. Four Diet Members from varying political parties visited Washington, DC where they met with their U.S. counterparts including young and long-serving congressmen, leaders in major U.S. agencies, the business and non-profit sectors and Japanese Americans. The program was generously funded by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Click here for photos from the July 2014 public policy program and reception, co-hosted with CULCON.
Click here for photos from the July 2013 reception, co-hosted with the Congressional Study Group on Japan.
Click here for photos from a January 2012 Diet Member reception.
Click here for photos from the 2011 TAC Diet Exchange.
Click here for photos from the International Trade Reception co-hosted by the U.S.-Japan Council and the APEC 2011 Hawai’i Host Committee.
Click here for photos from the Opening Reception on Capitol Hill in October, 2011.