The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

The annual D.C. Doorknock is a key opportunity for the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) to share the voices of our membership directly with the US government. It also allows us to stay abreast of important developments between the US and Japan.

Occurring a week prior to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s history-making speech before the Joint Session of Congress, the excitement surrounding this year’s D.C. Doorknock was palpable. Our timing couldn’t have been better.

Led by ACCJ President Jay Ponazecki and ACCJ Chairman Christopher LaFleur, this year’s delegation of ACCJ leaders took a three-part message to Washington:

1. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a long-term investment in the world’s fastest-growing region. Now is the time to seal the deal, and passing the fast track Trade Promotion Authority bill is an essential first step.

2. The US and Japan are natural partners with shared values on democracy, human rights, and free market economies. It is imperative that the two countries lead in establishing the trade architecture in the region.

3. Abenomics is real. With the TPP as a cornerstone driving some important reforms, the anticipated economic growth in Japan from those reforms will result in greater US export opportunities and more jobs supporting US corporate activity in the region.

To spread this message, and to discuss other topics, such as the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, the delegation took part in nearly 30 meetings over three days with legislators, officials in the administration of President Barack Obama, and prominent thought leaders at major think tanks.

We reached out to Republicans and Democrats, in both Houses of the US Congress, who are critical to furthering progress on the key issues important to the ACCJ. Additionally, we continued to strengthen our ties with members of the US Congressional Caucus on Japan.

Christopher LaFleur, fourth from left, and ACCJ delegation members with Representative Rick Larsen (Democrat-Washington), fourth from right

Christopher LaFleur, fourth from left, and ACCJ delegation members with
Representative Rick Larsen (Democrat-Washington), fourth from right

During the week following the D.C. Doorknock, Ponazecki and I were fortunate enough to attend a few special events, including a roundtable discussion with CEOs and with Abe. Ponazecki even had the honor of attending Abe’s galvanizing speech to the Congress, sitting in the same section as former US ambassadors to Japan Walter Mondale, Thomas Schieffer, and John Roos.

In the May issue of The Journal, ACCJ Vice President Eric Sedlak laid out the Chamber’s 2015 Advocacy Vision.

This year’s D.C. Doorknock successfully jump-started our progress toward delivering on this vision. This progress is integral to honor our mission of developing commerce between the US and Japan, promoting the interests of our members, and improving the international business environment in Japan.

Last, but certainly not least, Ponazecki and I would like to thank Ethan Schwalbe, ACCJ associate director of external affairs, for enabling us to effectively communicate our message to the right people. These efforts are a major part of what made the D.C. Doorknock so successful this year.


LauraYoungerBio

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Laura Younger is the executive director of the ACCJ.

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The annual D.C. Doorknock allows us to stay abreast of important developments between the US and Japan.