February 19, 2015 — Members of the congressional delegation meet with Japanese Prime Minister Abe.
Members of a congressional delegation led by Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) arrived in Tokyo Wednesday evening to round out a trip to three countries in Asia.
Japan is one of the United States’s top trading partners, and our alliance is central to American economic and security interests in Asia. Coming to an agreement on a high-standard Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would strengthen this important bond and give both nations greater influence in a rapidly changing region.
Upon arrival late Wednesday, the delegation met with Japan’s Minister of Economic Revitalization Akira Amari, the nation’s top economic and trade official. The delegation discussed the mutual benefits that a strong TPP agreement could provide. They stressed to the Minister the need for Japan to make progress on particular market-access issues like agriculture and automobiles as well as to continue to work together for a positive outcome in the rules negotiations. The group talked about the need to address new 21st century challenges in trade policy and set an ambitious precedent for the future so that the U.S. and Japan are writing the rules for the global economy together.
Thursday morning, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, hosted a working breakfast, and the delegation was briefed by U.S officials on a range of regional and bilateral issues. Afterward, the group met with the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and spoke about how fast-growing Asian markets require increased U.S. economic engagement in the region to ensure American businesses do not fall behind.
Later, the delegation held a meeting with the Chairman of Kikkoman, a business with U.S. production facilities, including in the state of Wisconsin. Chairman Ryan noted that Kikkoman demonstrates that trade between the two countries can yield mutual benefit and produce good jobs back in America.
In the afternoon, the delegation held a press conference with Japanese media. The members discussed the importance of a high-standard TPP agreement, economically and geopolitically. They also reiterated their intent to enact trade promotion authority legislation this spring.
Afterward, members of the delegation met with Japanese Foreign Minster Fumio Kishida. The group discussed the strategic need for greater U.S. engagement in Asia, particularly through TPP, to write the rules for global trade in the 21st century. The delegation also conveyed its condolences over the death of two Japanese citizens at the hands of ISIL and appreciation for Japan’s continued commitment to fighting terrorism.
In the evening, the delegation arrived at Kantei, where they met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The members thanked the prime minister for Japan’s partnership in economic and security efforts, and again conveyed condolences over the murder of two Japanese citizens. They expressed support for the prime minister’s economic revitalization program, and the delegation reaffirmed a shared desire to strengthen further the alliance between our two nations, notably by concluding a high-quality TPP agreement.
Finally, the delegation ended the day with a working dinner with senior members of the Japanese Diet. The delegation discussed ongoing TPP negotiations and reiterated to the Diet members their commitment to maintaining a strong relationship between our two nations, particularly through a strong and ambitious TPP agreement.
The goal of the delegation’s trip is to advance the American trade agenda and strengthen ties between the U.S. and the Asian nations. Members of the delegation visiting Asia are Chairman Ryan, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA), Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), and Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE).