Governor Schwarzenegger left today for his trade trip to Japan, a whirlwind 4 day excursion likely to be remembered as much for the rock star welcome he gets as it is for actual news.
(Schwarzenegger has long been a favorite in Japan... you can see some of his more unusual Japanese TV commercials at this website)
The trip will include a "Taste of California" reception, a visit with Japan's prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, and meetings with a number of business executives.
But the one thing that's hard to discern is what the trip will cost. The governor's press secretary, Margita Thompson, told reporters today which groups are responsible for picking up the tab, but would not say how much they're estimating a trip with dozens of business leaders and others will cost.
The groups footing the bill, according to Thompson: the California Protocol Foundation (reported to be a public charity, used for trips by previous governors); the California Travel and Tourism Commission; the Commission on Jobs and Economic Development (a Schwarzenegger-established group being financed by private donations); the California Department of Food & Agriculture; and the state's Business, Transportation, and Housing Authority (using private sector funds, Thompson says).
Another sign of the Schwarzenegger era of trade trips: an outside Japanese public relations firm has been hired to handle all of the Japanese media requests and interest in the visit. California media will still be dealt with by the governor's own staffers.