BEDFORD, Ind. (Oct. 27, 2021) — Local community leaders met the newest Consul-General of Japan and members of his staff at Radius Indiana’s “An Evening with Japan” event to renew the relationship between the Radius region and both the Consulate and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Chicago.
Jeff Quyle, president and CEO of Radius Indiana, Becky Skillman, chairwoman of the Radius Board of Directors, and nearly 60 guests welcomed Consul-General Hiroshi Tajima and JETRO Chief Executive Director Ralph Inforzato to the Radius region at the French Lick Resort Oct. 18. Guests included local economic development professionals, business leaders and a sizable number of local, state, and federally elected officials and representatives.
The event was Consul-General Tajima’s first official speaking engagement in Indiana since he was appointed to the position last month. It was designed for Radius stakeholders to learn more about the Indiana-Japan relationship as well as explore opportunities for collaboration.
“The Radius region, the state of Indiana, and Japan understand that one of the best ways to create more opportunities and prosperity for our people is to look outside our borders,” Skillman said. “The grand evening and enthusiastic information exchange should propel the partnership forward.”
During the event, Consul-General Tajima spoke about the current relationship between Japan and Indiana and the Japanese economy. Inforzato discussed the importance of building relationships with Japanese firms and thanked Radius for its continued efforts to strengthen its relationship with JETRO.
This was the first opportunity for many Radius members to hear directly from the Consul-General of Japan and JETRO, which are often on the front lines in facilitating new contacts with Japan for economic development opportunities.
“I am happy to see how close Radius and their community leaders have worked with and received Japanese companies operating in their region,” Consul-General Tajima said. “Our Consulate and I will continue to work with Radius and offer any support and assistance we can.”
Over the last 10 years, the number of Japanese business facilities in the United States increased by 45 percent, accounting for 957,000 jobs in 2018. In the Midwest, 1,637 Japanese business facilities provided more than 150,000 jobs in 2020, with 344 Japanese business facilities providing more than 70,000 jobs in Indiana. Indiana has the largest amount of Japanese investment per capita in the nation, and Radius hopes to use that momentum to bring Japanese firms into the Radius region.
Inforzato and members of the JETRO team also visited Linton and its mayor, John Wilkes, for lunch and a tour of the community. Wilkes began his relationship with JETRO in 2018. He has continued it over the last three years, traveling to both the JETRO Chicago office and Japan through the Japan Foundation “Grassroots Exchange Network-Japan (Gen-J)” in 2019.
The Radius visit concluded with a trip to meet with M&C Tech’s president Masato Adachi and a tour of the company’s facility in Washington, which was the first investment by a Japanese company in the Radius region. M&C Tech invested $4.6 million into a 40,000 square foot building, which opened in 2018. The company added 35 new jobs to the Radius region, with more to come.
“The leadership of Radius Indiana understands the deep value of and supports manufacturing investment from Japan,” Inforzato said. “Their leadership, particularly the mayors we met from southern Indiana, are truly focused on relationship building with JETRO to better understand how to approach and to make relationships with Japanese companies considering investment expansion in the midwest.”
ABOUT RADIUS INDIANA: Radius Indiana is a regional economic development partnership representing eight counties in Southern Indiana: Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Orange, and Washington. Formed in 2009, Radius Indiana also serves as a point of contact in Indiana for Naval Support Activity Crane and leads regional collaboration by leveraging the diverse assets of Southwest Central Indiana to drive attraction, retention and expansion of business, thereby increasing employment and investment opportunities and quality of life within the region.