Two-day visit will highlight contributions of Japanese-owned firms to communities

MADISON, WI. AUG. 15, 2019 – Naoki Ito, the consul general of Japan in Chicago, will spend two days in Wisconsin highlighting the important contributions of Japanese-owned businesses to communities here.

Consul General Ito is traveling with the Grassroots Caravan, an initiative to connect with local communities where Japanese companies have invested. The Grassroots Caravan was created two years ago this September as a joint venture between the Consulate-General of Japan and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Chicago.

Ito will visit Fujifilm Medical Systems USA, Komatsu Mining Corp. Group and Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee on Thursday, Aug. 15, and then will travel to Waupaca on Friday, Aug. 16, to visit the Waupaca Foundry of Hitachi Metals. The visit is being coordinated by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

“We are delighted to bring the Grassroots Caravan to Wisconsin for the first time, and to further deepen our two-way economic partnership,” said Consul General Ito. “So many Japanese companies are succeeding in Wisconsin, owing to their good investment climate and the strong work ethic of Wisconsinites. Currently 82 Japanese business facilities provide more than 7,100 jobs here. We wish to reach out to the communities where they work to promote our business relationship.”

“Japan and Wisconsin have deep and longstanding ties,” said Mark R. Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “We are pleased and honored that the consul general is taking the time to visit Japanese companies that are doing business in Wisconsin and learn firsthand about their partnerships with local communities.”

The consul general’s visit comes just weeks before Governor Tony Evers is scheduled to visit Japan on his first international trade mission Sept. 6-14. The governor will visit Tokyo, Yokohama and Chiba City to meet with officials from Japanese companies doing business in Wisconsin, to attend the 2019 Japan–Midwest U.S. Association Conference and to promote Wisconsin exports to Japan.

Wisconsin exported $734.3 million worth of goods to Japan in 2018. The state’s exports to Japan declined 6.9% from 2017 to 2018; however, they rose 11.0% in the first quarter of 2019 over the same period last year. Japan is the sixth-highest destination for Wisconsin exports, with top categories including industrial machinery, which grew 44% alone in the first quarter of this year; medical and scientific instruments; electrical machinery; and prepared meat and seafood products.

About the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing and maximizing opportunities in Wisconsin for businesses, communities and people to thrive in a globally competitive environment. Working with more than 600 regional and local partners, WEDC develops and delivers solutions representative of a highly responsive and coordinated economic development network. Visit or follow WEDC on Twitter @WEDCNews to learn more.