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Cablegate: House of Councilors President Pushes Parliamentary

VZCZCXYZ0009
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKO #5901 2840753
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 110753Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7292
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4499

UNCLAS TOKYO 005901

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR H
EAP FOR TOM REICH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL JA
SUBJECT: HOUSE OF COUNCILORS PRESIDENT PUSHES PARLIAMENTARY
EXCHANGES


1. (U) Japanese House of Councilors President Chikage Ogi,
accompanied by House of Councilors International Affairs
Department Director General Yoshiyuki Sadaoka and Secretarial
Division Director Satoshi Fujukawa, called on Ambassador
October 11 to press for the revitalization of U.S.-Japanese
parliamentary exchanges. Ogi lamented the fact that earlier
exchange initiatives between the U.S. Congress and the
Japanese Diet have languished as members who had been active
from both countries have either retired or have been voted
out of office.

2. (U) Ogi explained that her office has been in touch with
both Senator Daniel Inoyue (D-HI) and Senator Ted Stevens
(R-AK) and is particularly interested in getting a program of
upper house exchanges established before Senator Inoyue
retires at the end of his term. She recognizes that House
Speaker Dennis Hastert and his counterpart, Yohei Kono, have
also initiated conversations about similar exchanges between
the two House of Representatives. (NOTE: Lower House Speaker
Kono has told Embassy Tokyo that he plans to lead a Diet
delegation to Washington in November or December as a return
trip for Speaker Hastert's visit to Japan.)

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3. (U) Ambassador agreed that parliamentary exchanges would
be useful and desirable. He suggested that perhaps Senator
Inoyue would be interested in inviting a small number of his
colleague to Hawaii prior to the reconvening of the Senate in
January to meet with Ogi and others to plan a larger, more
formal meeting later in the year, possibly during Japan's
"Golden Week" in late April - early May. He also offered to
call the majority and minority leaders of the Senate to
express his support for Ogi's initiative. Ogi gladly
accepted his offer.

4. (U) Ogi also informed the Ambassador that she will be
visiting Beijing October 15-17 at the invitation of Wu
Bangguo, Chairman of the People's Congress, to sign with him
a parliamentary exchange agreement. She expressed
disappointment that this agreement was taking place before
one was reached with the Senate but emphasized the importance
of developing good relations between Chinese and Japanese
lawmakers.
SCHIEFFER

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