Democratic congresswoman Susan Davis, by far the most prolific junketeer of either party in San Diego’s congressional delegation, managed to fit in an eight-day trip to Tokyo before Japan’s earthquake and nuclear disasters hit. The sponsor was the Japan Center for International Exchange, which, according to its website, “conducts political exchange programs for leading American and Japanese policymakers, carries out policy research and dialogue projects on pressing international issues, and works to promote a greater understanding of civil society and philanthropy in Japan and the Asia Pacific region.” The site adds that, “One dramatic way that [the Japan Center for International Exchange] helped expand US-Japan dialogue was by arranging the 1975 Japan Socialist Party visit to the United States, its first visit in nearly two decades. This opened the way for growing engagement between the Socialists and US leaders.” Specific sources of its funding are not provided.
The center covered a total of $3993 in business-class airfare and other transportation expenses for Davis and her husband Steve, along with the couple’s lodging costs of $1679 and meal expenses of $706. During the trip, from February 19 through 27, Davis and her husband stayed at the luxurious Hotel Okura next to the U.S. embassy in downtown Tokyo while she attended a round of receptions, briefings, and meetings with titles including “Japan in the Global Economy,” “Women in Politics in Japan,” and “Roundtable Discussion with Keidanren (Japan Business Federation),” as well as a banquet hosted by Japan’s then–foreign minister Seiji Maehara. The final three days in the country were left open, with “accommodations, meals, and incidental expenses covered at personal expense.”
Besides Davis, other invited congressmembers included Democrats Diana DeGette of Colorado; Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono; New York’s Nita Lowey; and Republican Tom Petri of Wisconsin. Democratic senator Jim Webb of Virginia also attended and gave a speech…Jeffrey Davidow, a former Clinton State Department hand, is quietly leaving his position as president of La Jolla’s Institute of the Americas to take a job as senior counselor at Washington, D.C.’s Cohen Group, an international business-consulting outfit run by ex–U.S. secretary of defense William Cohen. No word on who will replace Davidow here.