(Tokyo) Governor Dave Heineman was in Tokyo this weekend to promote Nebraska businesses. During the third portion of his trade mission, Governor Heineman delivered remarks at the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association (MWJA) conference and witnessed the signing of several agreements between Nebraska and Japanese businesses. He also visited the Nebraska Center, the state’s international trade office.
The Governor’s remarks were part of the opening ceremonies of the 39th Annual Joint Meeting of the MWJA and the Japan-Midwest U.S. Association in Tokyo, which was attend by more than 400 U.S. and Japanese business and government representatives. This was his fourth visit to a MWJA conference. He was one of three Midwestern governors attending.
The conference showcases the Midwest business environment and helps inform Japanese companies about investment opportunities in Midwest communities.
In his remarks, Governor Heineman focused on continuing to develop relationships with companies currently operating in Nebraska or those interested in the opportunities Nebraska has to offer. Governor Heineman highlighted the business-friendly environment created by the Nebraska Advantage Act, which has spurred job growth throughout the state.
Prior to the conference opening, Governor Heineman, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED), and AFLAC Insurance, an Omaha-based insurance company, hosted a breakfast for Nebraska delegates and 25 Japanese business representatives. Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey was also in attendance.
Governor Heineman witnessed the signing of an agreement of cooperation between Lincoln-based LI-COR Biosciences and M&S Instruments, Inc., a Japanese distributing company. The agreement will help LI-COR’s biotechnology products be distributed throughout Japan.
LI-COR designs and manufactures instrument systems for biotechnology, plant biology and environmental research. It was founded 36 years ago after capitalizing on technology developed at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln (UNL). LI-COR employees more than 200 Nebraskans.
After a meeting with Itochu Corp., a 150 year old Japanese trading company, Governor Heineman announced an agreement for ITOCHU Corporation to review Nebraska venture capital opportunities. DED will partner with the Midlands Venture forum to provide Itochu with investment opportunities in Nebraska.
Itochu is one of the world’s leading trading companies with approximately $90 billion of annual total trading transactions and revenue in excess of $18 billion in 2005. With over 150 offices in more than 80 countries, Itochu is engaged in a variety of businesses through more than 650 subsidiaries and associated companies worldwide, including: technology, telecommunications, multimedia, aerospace, textiles, machinery, energy, food products, and finance services.
Governor Heineman also met with Lt. Governor Ken-ichi Hanamori of the Shizuoka Prefectural Government to facilitate an agreement to match businesses in Shizuoka with businesses and educational opportunities in Nebraska.
One such relationship is developing between UNL and the Shizuoka Prefecture University, which expands on the sister city relationship that has existed between Omaha and for more than 40 years between Omaha and Shizuoka City. Dr. Rolando Flores, head of the UNL Department of Food Science and Technology, is among those working to promote student exchanges with Shizuoka.
Sunday afternoon, the Governor was joined by members of his trade delegation and representatives of Japanese companies that do business with Nebraska in watching a pre-recorded football game between the Nebraska Huskers and Wake Forest University, where guests enjoyed Nebraska beef.
The Governor’s stay in Tokyo also included a visit to the Nebraska Center. Located in downtown Tokyo, the Nebraska Center is the state’s first international trade office. It opened in 2006 and is led by Koji Nagasaka, a long-time Japanese businessman. The office is the main point of contact for Japanese companies looking for business opportunities in Nebraska. It also serves as a hub for Nebraska’s international business operations, including the recruitment and expansion of Japanese-owned companies, agricultural market expansion, and the cultivation of multinational partnerships for economic growth.
As many as 60 Nebraska businesses, agriculture and university representatives are accompanying the Governor on his trade mission in Asia. The group’s final stop is Taipei, Taiwan.
Patty Wood 402-471-1559
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