CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Senator Jay Rockefeller and Senator Joe Manchin today welcomed 46 senior business executives from Japan to the Mountain State during a luncheon in Bridgeport. The group, from Japan's Chubu region, is visiting West Virginia on a 10-day nationwide tour aimed at learning more about the aerospace, automotive and shale gas industries. Today's luncheon continues the state's efforts to attract and strengthen investment.
During the luncheon, Gov. Tomblin and Sens. Rockefeller and Manchin discussed the importance of the strong business relationship between the state and businesses from the Chubu region. The delegation further emphasized West Virginia's favorable business climate and fiscally responsible polices. Tateaki Ishida, the leader of the Japanese delegation and CEO of Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings Inc., also delivered remarks.
"Today's gathering marked the celebration of a shared vision between our state and Japan that began nearly 25 years ago. Since then, we have worked to establish and are privileged to have strong support in trade, investment, education and cultural exchange," Gov. Tomblin said. "The partnership between Japan and West Virginia continues to play an important role in our state's economy, as their investments help support our state's world-class workforce and ensure a bright future for the Mountain State now and for years to come."
"I am honored to welcome business executives from the Chubu region of Japan to West Virginia today. Securing Japanese investment to our state is one of my proudest accomplishments," Rockefeller said. "The people of Japan and West Virginia share common bonds. We are both rooted in our land. We are tireless workers. We have experienced adversity, yet remained steadfast and centered. The core connections between West Virginians and the Japanese are the foundation of a strong and stable economic and cultural relationship between Japanese businesses, the people of Japan, and the people of West Virginia. And I'm proud of the role I played in helping foster and continue to build that relationship."
"For more than two decades, West Virginia and Japan have enjoyed a business partnership and friendship that has driven unprecedented economic growth and success for both regions," Senator Manchin said. "I'm honored to welcome our friends from Japan to the Mountain State to not only show them that our relationship remains strong, but that our state remains the epicenter for business and manufacturing in the United States thanks to our outstanding workforce. This friendship will continue to serve as an important part of both West Virginia's and Japan's efforts to boost economic success, create innovative business opportunities, attract good-paying jobs and build the brightest futures possible for our families, from the Chubu region to the Kanawha Valley and beyond."
Prior to lunch at the Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center, the delegation toured the Pratt & Whitney Engine Services facility in Bridgeport. The delegation also received a shale gas briefing from Mike McCown, COO of Gastar Exploration, which included an overview of the industry in West Virginia. The Japanese leaders began their United States travels in New York and are headed to California next before departing for Japan on Oct. 10.
The business delegation is led by the Chubu Association of Corporate Executives (CACE), a group of about 900 company chairmen, directors and other top executives. The Chubu region is the industrial hub of Japan.
West Virginia maintains a business development office in the Chubu-region city of Nagoya. The state's Nagoya office will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2015. Currently, there are 20 Japanese companies with business relations in West Virginia that support more than 2,500 employees statewide.