Kentucky Chamber Leaders to visit Japan, court Japanese investors

More than 30 delegates from the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce will be meeting with approximately 100 Japanese companies doing business in Kentucky at an event at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo later this month.

Hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, the event will honor Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Toyota’s significant presence in Kentucky. Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Kentucky President Wil James, Jr., who serves as the Kentucky Chamber’s board chairman, is leading the delegation of Chamber board members and government officials for an eight-day business mission in partnership with the governor’s office and the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

“Kentucky has a crucial relationship with Japan,” says Kentucky Chamber President Dave Adkisson. “Our key purpose of this trip is to say ‘thank you’ to the 170 Japanese companies that have operations in Kentucky. Not only are Toyota and its suppliers integral to our economic future, but we also have significant investments with Brown-Forman corporation, Beam Suntory and many others.”

Although Gov. Beshear will be in Japan on a separate economic development mission, he will meet with Chamber leaders during the reception at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and during the delegation’s tour of the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology in Nagoya.

“I’m very excited for this opportunity to strengthen Kentucky’s economy,” said Beshear. “Kentucky is a great place for Japanese business owners looking to locate operations in the U.S. It is my goal to continue to work with Japanese companies and aggressively market Kentucky’s many business advantages to bring more investment and jobs to the Commonwealth. I’m also looking forward to growing Kentucky’s bond with the many Japanese companies already operating here.”

During the trip, delegates will meet with Toyota executives in Japan, beginning with a visit to Toyota’s Ecoful Town where visitors can experience what towns will look like and how people will live in the future. In Tokyo, the group will stop at Intersect by Lexus, a new lifestyle hub in Aoyama, a Tokyo neighborhood renowned for its pioneering design, fashion, art, music and technology.

“Intersect provides a venue where bright minds of these disciplines can gather, create and co-exist,” says James. “With the first Lexus preparing to be built later this fall in Kentucky, we are proud to show how Lexus’ philosophy of high-end design can cross into culture and lifestyle.”

The April 21 reception with Ambassador Kennedy in Tokyo is the culmination of the delegation’s tour which begins April 16.

“We’re pleased that Ambassador Kennedy and Beam Suntory have provided us with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet with and thank this group of companies that provide so many jobs and economic opportunities for Kentuckians,” said Adkisson.

The delegation will also visit cultural destinations in Nagoya, Tokyo and Kyoto. This is the fourth international trip hosted by the Kentucky Chamber. Chamber delegations previously visited China in 2012 and 2013 and Dubai in 2014.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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