Nebraska’s economic relationship with Japan

28 Oct 2014

Article By: Governor Dave Heineman

Every day, we are working to make Nebraska an even better place to create jobs and encourage business growth. My administration has focused on economic growth, and we have made it a top priority to lower taxes, increase exports and expand foreign direct investment.

This means Nebraska must foster positive relationships with potential trading partners. For Nebraska, Japan is a key trade and investment partner.

Recently, the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association its annual conference in Des Moines. For more than four decades, business leaders and elected officials from the Midwest have met with business leaders from Japan to discuss the growth and progress of economic relations between us.

These relationships have been opened since 1967 and have had an important and historic impact on both of our countries. We’ve learned from each other, and that has made us stronger.

One way we have invested in our relationship with Japan was by opening the Nebraska Center Japan in 2006. The Nebraska Center, led by Mr. Koji Nagasaka, has been instrumental in identifying business partners and opportunities for Nebraska and Japanese companies.

We benefit from companies like Kawasaki Motor Manufacturing, which is celebrating 40 years of manufacturing in Nebraska this year.

Kawasaki’s rail car division in Lincoln was recently awarded contracts to build rail cars for both New York City and Washington, D.C., that are valued at more than $4 billion.

The company chose their Nebraska plant to build the rail cars based on the productivity of their more than 2,000 employees in Lincoln.

Thanks to Kawasaki’s growth, we’ve seen five parts supply companies locate in our state. The latest such company is Morio Denki. It opened its main operations and U.S. headquarters in Nebraska early this year.

Many other Japanese-owned companies are doing business in Nebraska, including:

- Marubeni, one of the largest and oldest Japanese trading houses, acquired Gavilon, an Omaha company specializing in food commodities. It is constructing a new headquarters and expanding its employment in Omaha.

- QP Corporation, producing mayonnaise and egg products, relocated its corporate offices from New York to Nebraska.

- Itochu Corporation, along with Flint Hills Resources and Benefuel Inc., have invested in a next generation biodiesel fuel project located in Nebraska.

- Agrex Inc., a subsidiary of Mitsubishi, has constructed a new shuttle loading facility at Laurel.

Our secret to success is our dedicated, hard-working and well-educated workforce, outstanding rail and truck resources, low utility costs, and our high quality of life.

Nebraska is ranked the third most business friendly state in the nation, and Nebraska won Site Selection Magazine’s top economic development award – The Governor’s Cup.

Nebraska is a special state and we are very pleased that Japanese businesses have been very active in our state. We deeply appreciate our special relationship with Japan and we want to continue to expand and enhance that relationship.

Dave Heineman is governor of Nebraska.

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