BEDFORD — Radius Indiana continues to strengthen its working relationship with Japanese governmental and business professionals, with a site selector trip, the preparation for additional regional leaders to travel to Japan, and the celebration of the 2019 Japan-America Society of Indiana Gala.
A Radius team of elected officials and local economic development leaders traveled to Chicago in July to meet with the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO). This was Radius’s second site selector trip to Chicago in recent months and part of the organization’s continuing economic development outreach program, which included a trip to Japan last fall.
Radius Indiana President and CEO Jeff Quyle was joined by Mayor Joe Wellman of Washington, Mayor John Wilkes of Linton, Zach Brown of Orange County and Bryant Niehoff of Daviess County. Conversations focused on workforce attraction, development, training and retention activities.
“Like all companies across the nation, Japanese firms are facing manpower shortages and are seeking new programs and ways to address those shortages,” said Quyle. “Our Radius delegation provided several examples of new initiatives that are being explored among our businesses, schools, and partners such as Regional Opportunity Initiatives.”
The JETRO technical staff then briefed the Radius group on demographic trends in Japan that will impact the flow of business investment from Japan into the U.S.
The Radius team also met with Consul General of Japan Naoki Ito and members of his staff, with similar discussions about the strength of Japanese companies in his 10-state Midwest region. Consul General Ito has previously visited the Radius region in early 2018 to speak to local government and business leaders, and to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony of M&C Tech in Washington—the first Japanese manufacturer in the region.
“Being able to build these kinds of working relationships is helping our communities in so many ways,” said Mayor Wilkes. “Linton is honored to be a part of these valuable networking opportunities for growth. The one-on-one relationships I’ve built with distinguished leaders and the knowledge I’ve gained for my community is how successful change comes about. I intend to continue building our Japan-Indiana network.”
On August 7, Quyle and local economic development leaders from Greene, Orange, Lawrence, Crawford, and Daviess counties traveled to Indianapolis to attend the Japan-America Society of Indiana’s 2019 Annual Gala. The gala serves as JASI’s most visible cultural event of the year and supports its efforts to promote friendship, exchange, and cooperation between the United States and Japan.
Governor Eric Holcomb and Consul General Ito were both in attendance at the gala. Guests at the reception heard a keynote presentation from Dr. William Tsutsui, president and professor of history at Hendrix College, Arkansas, specializing in economic, environmental, and cultural history of Japan.
“JASI is an invaluable partner and has helped Radius build a strong network in which we can cultivate economic development opportunities,” said Quyle. “The gala is a great event that we look forward to each year, and will continue to foster our growing relationship with JASI.”
Radius is also pleased to announce that six regional leaders are working to secure scholarships through the office of the Japanese Consulate that will give them the opportunity to travel to Japan for economic and educational outreach. The Grassroots Exchange Network-Japan Invitation Program is sponsored by the Japan Foundation and affords participants an all-expenses-paid, week-long trip to meet with Japanese businesses and cultivate relationships to encourage foreign investment in our region.