CHICAGO – Governor Quinn will depart later today to Japan to attend the 45th Annual Midwest US-Japan Association (MWJA) Conference and focus on bringing more foreign direct investment to Illinois. While there, the Governor will meet with the CEOs of major Japanese companies interested in expansion and new investments in the state. Japan is the second largest source of foreign direct investment in Illinois and the source of more than 50,000 jobs in Illinois. The Governor’s trip is part of his agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.
“I look forward to this annual event that takes place with our strong partners in Japan and other Midwestern leaders,” Governor Quinn said. “Japan has deep roots in Illinois and is one of the largest export markets for Illinois products. This trip will allow us to capitalize on available economic opportunities for Illinois and Japan.”
Japan plays an important role in the Illinois economy, employing more Illinois workers than any other foreign country except the United Kingdom. Illinois is home to 410 Japanese-owned companies, employing 53,725 Illinois workers. Illinois exported $2.1 billion in products to Japan in 2012. That makes Japan the seventh largest export market for Illinois products. Exports to Japan from Illinois have grown 17.9 percent since 2009.
During his trip, Governor Quinn will meet with top leaders from Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Koito Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Nippon Sharyo Co., Ltd., Neo Morgan Laboratory and TACMINA Corp. The Governor will also meet with Japanese officials in an effort to boost investments in Illinois businesses.
At the conference, the Governor is scheduled to speak about opportunities to invest in Illinois. The annual conference brings together governors and business leaders from across the Midwest to discuss economic progress and investment between Midwestern states and Japan. This year, Governor Quinn will be joined by fellow governors from Iowa, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Governor Quinn’s past trips to Asia have led to major economic investment in Illinois. For example, Governor Quinn personally recruited Nippon Sharyo to Illinois and the company has been expanding rapidly since opening its passenger rail car factory in Rochelle last year. Another Japanese company, Astellas – a pharmaceutical firm - built a new corporate headquarters for the Americas in Glenview last year, creating 150 new jobs. The investment came after the Governor met with the corporation’s leadership while on a trade mission to China and Japan in 2011.
Following Governor Quinn’s 2011 visit to Japan for the MWJA Conference, the Governor announced that Japanese manufacturer Sakae Riken Kogyo Co. was investing $35 million to expand its Peru facility and create 25 new Illinois jobs. The investment was one of several business and economic partnerships the Governor had announced during his 2011 trade mission throughout Asia.
Governor Quinn’s attendance at the MWJA is the latest by Governor Quinn as he seeks to promote Illinois to a global audience. Past international visits and trade missions include Mexico in April of 2013, China and Japan in 2011, and Canada and Brazil in 2012. Recently, Governor Quinn announced the opening of new international business in Illinois, including Rittal Corp. of Germany and Grundfos of Denmark.
The state of Illinois opened its Tokyo office in 1987 and has had representation in Japan since 1983. Many Illinois cities have established sister city relationships with Japanese cities and Governor Quinn will sign a new sister river agreement to promote further economic development and tourism during his visit.
The Midwest US-Japan Association Conference is an annual event where business leaders from the Midwest region of the United States and Japan have met on an annual basis to discuss the growth and progress of economic relations of the American Midwest and Japan. The event is attended by Midwestern governors including those of Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin. The meeting host country alternates years between Japan and the Midwest. The first MWJA meeting took place in Illinois in 1967 when a delegation from the Japan Committee for Economic Development was welcomed by representatives of the Chicago Association of Commerce & Industry.