James.qxp May June 2019 web - Page 31

The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s
international representative in Japan is Yumiko Nakazono,
who has led Georgia’s economic development efforts in
Japan since 1989. Georgia is also a charter member of the
Southeastern United States (SEUS) Japan Alliance, established in 1976, which annually brings together business
leaders and government officials from both regions. And
Georgia is the host for the 42nd annual joint meeting of
SEUS this coming October 20-23 in Savannah.
In August 2013, then-Gov. Nathan Deal led a business,
trade and tourism mission to Asia which ended in Tokyo to
celebrate the 40th anniversary of Georgia’s economic development office in Japan. Their work netted new Georgia
investments in 2014-15 with Haso USA Inc., a Tokyo-based
manufacturer of personal use cleaning products, announcing
its decision to locate to Gwinnett County— an investment
of $7 million that created 170 jobs.
Georgia’s Department of Economic Development led a
delegation to Japan in 2015, and Deal met with the ambassador of Japan in 2016 to discuss Georgia’s relationship.
And he returned to Japan in June of 2017.
In March of 2016, Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. announced a
$100 million investment in Griffin, which created 80 jobs in
the community. And Marukan, a Japanese leader in rice vinegar brewing, established its second U.S. brewery in Griffin.
Ten Georgia cities now have sister city agreements with
Japan, including Elberton and Takamatsu; Atlanta and
Fukuoka; Macon and Kurobe. Georgia is also a sister state to
Kagoshima Prefecture (a government district).
Japanese and American citizens interested in fostering
peace and friendship at the grassroots level.
In 2016, 30,300 Japanese tourists traveled to Georgia
spending more than $74.3 million. Visitation from Japan to
Georgia is expected to increase by 14 percent between
Governor Kemp meeting Japanese Ambassador to the US Shinsuke Sugiyama
Gretsch, the Georgia-based musical instruments company, partners with the Terada factory in Nagoya, Japan in manufacturing a selection of its guitars for distribution worldwide.
Consul General Shinozuka says he tries try to meet as
many Georgians as possible and to speak about his country
as often as possible. “There are many good things that are not
known well enough, and that should be known,” he says. “In
the case of Georgia, we have a Japanese community working
together with many Georgia communities and we are proud
to be part of the effort to make Georgia even greater.”
He notes there are more than 600 Japanese-affiliated
companies in Georgia that are good corporate citizens and
play an important part in the state’s economy.
“We’re proud that Japanese companies continue to
thrive here, and expand and create new jobs in Georgia.
Many people are unaware of the work we do to invest in
Georgia. And Japan invests here because Georgia is an
exceptional place in which to live and work. Georgia is wellgoverned, offers a robust economy and welcoming communities. In addition to serving as emissaries of Japan in Georgia,
we also help to educate Japanese citizens and leaders about
the benefits of living and doing business in Georgia.”
Finally, consider this list of fruitful Georgia and Japan
E d u c at i o n
The University System of Georgia offers 35 study
abroad programs to Japan in programs such as language,
history, business and Japanese culture. During the 201516 school year, 114 USG students studied in Japan. In
2017 alone, 143 Japanese students were enrolled in
University System Institutions, which currently host 44
visiting Japanese scholars.
Emory University also provides faculty-led study abroad
programs to Japan as well as exchanges with Kansai Gaidai
University and Kwansei Gakuin University.
M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 9
A rt s , C u lt u r e a n d T o u r i s m
JapanFest is held annually in Atlanta and typically
draws crowds of more than 20,000 people. The festival
includes a variety of dance and music performances as well
as cultural workshops.
In 2017, Atlanta hosted the 27th annual Japan-America
Grassroots Summit, a one-week cultural exchange program
held alternately each year in Japan and the U.S. for
I n t e r n at i o n a l T r a d e E x p o rt s
Georgia exports to Japan totaled $1.36 billion in 2017
alone and Japan is currently the 6th largest export market
for Georgia.
Top exports from Georgia to Japan include civilian aircraft, parts of gas turbines, medical instruments, kaolin, and
chemical wood pulp.
And Georgia leads the nation in the export of insecticides and herbicides, carpets and other textile floor coverings and kaolin to Japan.
I n t e r n at i o n a l T r a d e I m p o rt s
In 2017, Georgia imports from Japan totaled $4.95 billion. Japan ranks 5th among Georgia’s importer nations.
Top imports from Japan include construction machinery,
motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts and accessories, chemicals for photography and electrical capacitors.
C a p i ta l I n v e s t m e n t s
At least 41 Georgia companies have operations in
Japan, including but not limited to: Aflac, Crawford &
Company, Invesco, King & Spalding, NCR Corporation, The
Coca-Cola Company, Travelport, Turner Broadcasting
System, UPS, and WestRock.
Japan is a leading investor in Georgia, ranking first among
Georgia’s international investors based on total dollar value of
investments, and third based on total number of facilities.
T r a n s p o rtat i o n
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport offers
daily direct flights from Atlanta to Tokyo.
The Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) in Savannah has an
established relationship with Japan. GPA offers two weekly
container services to Tokyo and Kobe. GPA’s Brunswick Port
also offers shipping services to Hitachi, Kawasaki, Kobe,
Nagoya, Yokohama and Kanda.
J a pa n a n d t h e G eo rg i a D e pa rt m e n t
o f E c o n o m i c D e v e lo p m e n t
The Georgia Department of Economic Development is
essentially the state’s sales and marketing arm, with responsibility for attracting new business investment, encouraging
the expansion of existing industry and small businesses,
aligning workforce education and training with in-demand
jobs, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting
tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a destination
for arts and location for film, music and digital entertainment projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state
resources for economic development.
Hard to believe that at this time 74 years ago both countries were enemies, and now we are great friends.
Tal Wright is a staff writer for James and InsiderAdvantage Georgia.
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