WV Governor: Fostering Strong Business Relationships in Japan
When I became your governor, I made a promise to go anywhere to bring jobs to West Virginia. On June 01, I put that promise into action, traveling more than 9,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to Japan to bring more good-paying jobs to the Mountain State. Since arriving, I have strengthened our state’s business relationships with Japanese companies.
West Virginia has enjoyed a strong business relationship with Japan for many years. We have over 20 Japanese companies doing business in the state. Those companies employ over 2,400 West Virginians and have invested over $2.1 billion in our economy. And last year, our exports to Japan totaled more than $420 million. Those numbers are a testament to the close ties we have forged with Japan’s business community.
I came to Japan to build on that relationship and bring even more jobs to West Virginia. Since arriving, I have met with leaders from businesses with existing investments in our state, as well as several potential investors. I’ve had private meetings with senior executives from many companies, including Nisshin Steel, Nippon Thermostat, Hino Motors, Kureha Corporation, Okuno International, NGK Spark Plug and Toyota — all companies currently doing business in West Virginia. These meetings have focused on nurturing existing commercial relationships and exploring new business expansions. I’ve also had the opportunity to host several larger forums with current business partners and companies considering investing or locating operations in the state.
Japanese companies recognize the Mountain State’s great potential. Our positive economic climate and business incentives have demonstrated nationally that our state is a very favorable place to invest. A recent report stated West Virginia has become a national leader in new business development. Success stories such as the Toyota plant in Buffalo, which recently announced its seventh expansion, demonstrates the world-class workforce these companies enjoy when they set up shop in West Virginia. Investors know our government and workforce have an unmatched commitment to excellence, and many of them are interested in expanding in the state. It has been an honor for me to represent West Virginia and tell these executives about the great things happening back home.
As I prepare to return home, I am pleased to report this trade mission was a terrific investment. In fact, I believe our work in Japan will lead to new job announcements in the next few weeks.
I have spent the last 19 months working to bring good-paying jobs to West Virginia. Our hard work is paying off, but there is still much work left to be done. And you can count on me to go the extra mile and keep doing everything possible to bring jobs to the Mountain State.