The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Each year, leaders from the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) travel to Washington for the DC Door­knock, one of our most important annual events and a key way in which the chamber works to ensure that the voices of ACCJ members doing business in Japan are heard by the US government.

By meeting face-to-face with policymakers, we are able to share the ACCJ’s priorities with the color that only in-person meetings can provide and, in turn, understand the climate for the issues that matter to our members.

This year’s DC Doorknock was held May 8–10 and included a delegation of 10 ACCJ members. In meetings with senior officials from the administration of US President Donald Trump and members of the US Congress, we empha­sized the importance of the Japanese market to US businesses large and small, underscored the need for a constructive trade and economic dialogue between the United States and Japan, and called for more proactive private sector engagement.

DIVERSE LEADERS
This year, the delegation consisted largely of CEOs rep­resenting a cross-section of industries, including defense, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, and travel. Engaging the leaders of our largest ACCJ member companies adds weight to the messages we take to Washington on behalf of all members.

During the three-day visit, the ACCJ delegation met with representatives of:

  • National Security Council
  • National Economic Council
  • Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy
  • Office of the Vice President
  • Office of the United States Trade Representative
  • Departments of Commerce, Treasury, and State
  • Embassy of Japan in the United States of America

We met with more than 20 members of Congress from both political parties. I would like to once again extend my appreciation to US Ambassador to Japan William F. Hagerty and our partners at the Embassy of the United States, Tokyo, who provided candid input during our planning process and—in many cases—enabled our access to key administration offices and leaders.

One significant positive development is agreement by the US Department of the Treasury to further study our recommenda­tions on taxation issues—including citizenship-based taxation and other matters—that place US citizens and companies abroad at a significant disadvantage. Under the leadership of the ACCJ Taxation Committee, and in partnership with the Asia–Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce, the ACCJ will continue to advocate on these issues and update members on our progress.

EMBRACING CHANGE
These meetings underscored the evolving nature of the US–Japan partnership, as well as the challenges and opportunities that we face as an organization in this changing environment.

Our visit was also a meaningful opportunity to provide the many new people in various positions across the administration an on-the-ground perspective of the US–Japan economic relationship, and to emphasize the importance of the Japanese market for US companies. Our three days in Washington, DC reaffirmed our strategic priority to provide relevant and strong advocacy, and—given the evolving nature of the US–Japan economic and security relationship—the need to increase our presence both directly and indirectly in the Capitol.

In our meetings, we also emphasized the need for an active, ongoing trade and economic dialogue between the United States and Japan that addresses outstanding trade issues in a way that is more forward looking and includes a strong private-sector voice. The newly announced dialogue between US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi represents a significant opportunity for progress.

This is an important time for the ACCJ as we aim to play a constructive role in defining the next chapter of the US–Japan partnership and to enhance commercial opportunities for member companies in Japan. We will continue to update you as we move forward. As always, please get in touch with questions or comments at: sshah@accj.or.jp.

Sachin N. Shah is ACCJ President.