March 3, 2008 12:00 AM

My trip to Washington D.C. to attend WIREC, Washington International Renewable Energy Conference, was cancelled. I was planning to leave for the USA on March 3. I was very worried if the passage of the Budget was delayed, since skipping the Budget vote is a serious sin, I may not be able to catch my flight. But the Whip Office gave me an okay when I asked. I was wondering if, through the usual channel, the passage of the Budget had been confirmed on Friday.

Well, the Budget was passed on Friday and nothing should prevent me going. Then came a "sorry". The Opposition is likely to oppose to the renewal of the Japan-US Agreement on US Base-related Cost Sharing Scheme. As a Director of the Foreign Affairs Committee I need to be standing by to fix the Committee schedule. Ha!

The major reason of my visit to WIREC is to invite the next Conference to Japan. The first Conference was held in Bonn and the next round in Beijing, then came to Washington. The Steering Committee agreed to hold the Conference alternately in a developed country and a developing country. The Conference in 2009 will be in UAE. But the Japanese NGOs worked hard to convince the Steering Committee to have extraordinary conference in Tokyo in 2008 with the pretext to follow up the agreement at the Toyako summit this year.

Kurokawa Kiyoshi, PM's Special Counsel, tried to sell the idea to PM. Expectedly, the METI voiced the opposition as they hated anything to do with the renewable energy to protect their vested interest in the nuclear industry. MOFA and the Ministry of Environment agreed to push for the Conference, but they had no budget to spare.

Iida Tetsunari and Obayashi Mika who represent Japan in the Steering Committee worked very hard. It would give Japan another spotlight after the Toyako summit and it would surely give PM a push he needs. I have spoken with PM Office and planned to visit WIREC as I have been to the first Conference and know quite a few in the decision making. Now I have to sit here in Tokyo and watch its development.