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US Congressional Staff Exchange Program

14th US Congressional Staff Exchange Program
August 23–30, 1998

Congressional staffers visiting Japan on the 1998 US Congressional Staff Exchange Program spent one week participating in meetings that were designed, in part, to shed light on Japan's ongoing political transition. On Monday, August 24, they discussed the rise of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), a dynamic, new political party that is helping reshape the Japanese political system, with Naoto Kan, President of the DPJ, and three other top party members serving in the Diet. On Tuesday, they met with Takeshi Noda, Secretary-General of the newly formed Liberal Party; on Wednesday they spoke with Koichi Kato, former Defense Minister and former Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and other LDP Diet members; then on Thursday they visited the Diet chambers. In a Friday breakfast meeting, they spoke with six young members of the Diet about the growing political clout of young Diet members, and later in the day they met with Takako Doi, Chair of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). The participants also had the chance to discuss Japan's economic transition with senior officials from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Toyoo Gyohten, a top economic advisor to the prime minister, and leaders from the fields of business and journalism.

Participants

Doug Campbell Legislative Director to Rep. Howard Berman
Bob Cochran Chief of Staff to Rep. Buck McKeon
Terri Giles Director of Economic Development of Sen. Jay Rockefeller
Fred Humphries Senior Policy Advisor to House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt
Deborah Lamb Democratic Chief Trade Counsel, Senate Finance Committee
Kristen Ludecke Communications Director to Sen. Jeff Bingaman
Julie Raulston Legislative Correspondent to Sen. Chuck Hagel
Thomas Roesser Tax Counsel, Senate Finance Committee