Monday, May 11, 2015

Tomblin and others set to leave for Japan trade mission trip

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and other officials are preparing to leave for a trade mission trip to Japan Tuesday.

The trip, which is meant to strengthen ties with Japanese investors, will be May 12-21 with stops in Nagoya, Yokohama, and Tokyo.

The business trip will mark the 25th anniversary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce’s Nagoya Office.

State Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette is one of the 14 people who will join Tomblin.

Burdette said celebrating the anniversary means a lot since West Virginia and Nagoya have a special relationship. He said West Virginia was the first U.S. state to choose Nagoya as their office location.

“If you look at the history of Japanese companies that have come to West Virginia, 80 percent of them have come out of the Nagoya region,” he said, “It has been a huge success for us.”

The group will also focus on the automotive industry while overseas. The governor will be speaking at a JSAE (Japan’s largest automotive trade show) seminar, accompanied by Millie Marshall, president of Toyota W.Va.

Tomblin will also attend a reception with the West Virginia University Alumni Association’s Japan Chapter and its 75 members.

The trip marks Tomblin’s second trade mission to Japan. Former Gov. Gaston Caperton will also join him. Caperton authorized the opening of the Nagoya office during his first term.

According to a news release, since Tomblin’s last visit in 2012, Japanese companies have announced seven expansions to their operations in West Virginia totaling $144 million in new investments and about 230 new jobs.

Currently, 20 Japanese firms employ more than 3,000 West Virginians.