RALEIGH – Last week, Governor Roy Cooper led a 35-person North Carolina delegation to Japan for the annual Southeastern United States/Japan (SEUS/Japan) Economic Development Conference in Tokyo. The Governor held productive meetings with major business leaders and worked to recruit more good-paying jobs to North Carolina in advance of next year’s SEUS/Japan Economic Development Conference to be held in Charlotte.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to strengthen our economic partnership with companies in Japan and engage in meaningful discussions with several major business leaders and employers,” said Governor Cooper. “We hope to announce more good news for the people and economy of North Carolina in the weeks and months to come.”
On Saturday, Governor Cooper met with Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda and discussed the company’s battery production partnership with North Carolina.
On Friday the Governor was interviewed by Nikkei Asia to talk about North Carolina and how it is a fantastic place for Japanese companies to expand.
Governor Cooper met with FUJIFILM President and CEO Teiichi Goto and other company leaders to discuss the continued partnership and the company’s facilities in the state. In March 2021, the Governor announced that FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies U.S.A. Inc. will build North America’s largest end-to-end biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Holly Springs, bringing 725 jobs to North Carolina. FUJIFILM also has a Morrisville campus.
The Governor also met with Sumitomo Forestry President and CEO Toshiro Mitsuyoshi and other company leaders to discuss the company’s work in Randolph County and Charlotte. In December 2022, Governor Cooper announced that Sumitomo Forestry America, Inc. will establish a manufacturing facility in Randolph County, bringing 129 jobs to North Carolina.
In addition, Governor Cooper met with Morinaga Representative Director and President Eijiro Ota and other company leaders. Morinaga’s first Hi-Chew production plant in the United States opened its doors in Mebane in 2015.
To highlight the continued partnership between Japan and North Carolina, the Governor met with Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Chairman Norihiko Ishiguro and other JETRO leaders.
On Thursday, Governor Cooper met with United States Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel to discuss the strong economic partnership between North Carolina and Japan.
The Governor also met with Toyota Motor Corporation President Koji Sato and Toyota Motor North America Executive Vice President Chris Reynolds to discuss the jobs Toyota is bringing along with their overall presence in our state. In December 2021, Governor Cooper announced that Toyota will build its first North American battery manufacturing plant in the Triad. To date, Toyota has announced 2,100 jobs and $5.9 billion in capital investment at the plant.
The Governor met with Bridgestone Global CEO Shu Ishibashi to discuss continued collaboration with the company and its tire manufacturing operation in Wilson. Bridgestone Corporation is a Japanese multinational tire manufacturer and Mr. Ishibashi is the Japan co-chair for the 2023 and 2024 SEUS-Japan Conference. Located in Wilson, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations employs over 2,000 North Carolinians.
The Governor met confidentially with other companies that do not yet have a relationship with North Carolina but are considering bringing jobs here.
SEUS/Japan is the premier economic development partnership between the eight states in the Southeastern United States and Japan, one of the nation’s largest trading partners and home to 225 companies with large presences in North Carolina. The 2024 SEUS/Japan Conference will be held in Charlotte, a milestone event that will showcase the state’s economy and build greater ties between North Carolina and Japan.