Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leaders and Governor Scott Walker have arrived in Tokyo to mark the start of an eight-day trade mission to Japan and South Korea to help boost state exports and to encourage companies in both countries to consider investing in Wisconsin.
Governor Walker is leading a 22-member delegation that includes Mark R. Hogan, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC); Katy Sinnott, vice president of International Business Development for WEDC; and 13 executives from eight Wisconsin companies. The trade mission runs through Saturday, Sept. 16.
On Sunday, Governor Walker and Secretary Hogan met with Morita Kensaku, the governor of the Chiba Prefecture in Japan, which has been Wisconsin’s “Sister State” since 1990. The leaders discussed ways to strengthen ties between the state, including plans for a delegation from Chiba to visit Wisconsin in October.
Governor Walker and WEDC leaders on Sunday and Monday also attended the 49th joint meeting of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association (MWJA), which includes Japanese corporations that have direct economic ties to the Midwest or are interested in developing them.
On Monday, Governor Walker made remarks during the opening ceremony of the conference and, along with other Midwest governors, met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. Earlier in the day, Governor Walker and two other governors met with Bill Hagerty, the U.S. ambassador to Japan. Governor Walker and Secretary Hogan also met Monday with Naoki Ito, the Consul General of Japan in Chicago.
On Monday afternoon, Governor Walker met with Tetsuji Ohashi, president and CEO of Komatsu Ltd., which acquired Joy Global Inc. in April 2017 and renamed the company Komatsu Mining Corp. The governor thanked company leaders for their decision to keep existing operations in Milwaukee and had discussions about possible future investment in Wisconsin.
Throughout the trade mission, WEDC staff will work closely with the 13 Wisconsin business executives who are part of the delegation by providing them with support as they take part in personalized one-on-one meetings to develop business partnerships and increase global opportunities for their companies.
“In the first half of 2017, Wisconsin experienced an 8 percent increase in exports and we want to make sure that trend continues,” Governor Walker said. “That’s why a key component of this trade mission is to ensure the business leaders who are joining us on this trip are able to make the connections needed to reach new markets.”
Governor Walker and the Wisconsin delegation will remain in Japan through Tuesday before heading to South Korea.