Snyder makes case for investing in Michigan, strengthens ties with Japan


Michigan is helping companies create more and better jobs and is eager to build upon the state’s longstanding relationships with Japanese businesses, Gov. Rick Snyder said Monday after addressing the 2015 Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference.

“We have come to open new doors for trade and business between Michigan and Japan,” Snyder said. “Michiganders build great products that we can export, and our state is a prime place for companies to locate and grow. We see many great opportunities ahead for all of us to do more business together.”

Snyder delivered his remarks at the opening session of the conference in Tokyo, attended by Midwestern U.S. governors and Japanese officials and business leaders.

Snyder also highlighted the significance of Michigan’s presence in the global economy and made the case for foreign business owners to consider investing in the state. Snyder said Michigan is poised to become a top 10 state for economic growth, job creation, and quality of life.

“In the past five years, hundreds of companies, both domestic and international, have invested in our state’s success,” he said. “We have reinvented Michigan through common sense reforms and we’re moving forward with a new economic climate that is attractive to businesses making growth and investment decisions. We’re also helping connect businesses with schools and colleges so students graduate with in-demand skills, building a talented workforce.”

On Saturday, Snyder met with Gov. Taizo Mikazuki of Shiga Prefecture, Japan to affirm a sister state agreement, one of the oldest sister state agreements between the United States and Japan.

“For nearly 50 years, residents of our two states have fostered personal, educational and economic ties through partnership activities and exchanges involving students, teachers, community members and government officials,” Snyder said. “It signifies a mutual commitment to our partnership and further promotes the economic and cultural development of the state of Michigan and Shiga.”

The state of Michigan and Shiga Prefecture became sister states in 1968, using the common bond of fresh water as the basis for the partnership with the mutual interest of protecting and preserving protection and preservation of Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan and the Great Lakes, the world's largest group of freshwater bodies. Over time the relationship has expanded toward economic development, tourism, education and job creation.

Snyder also visited the Japan Center for Michigan Universities, a 26-year-old consortium among Shiga and Michigan and Michigan's 15 state-supported universities.

The collaboration was designed to build strong relationships between Japanese, Americans and other nationalities through active learning and participation in language, culture, family life and society via academic programs and cultural exchange activities. Today the JCMU offers a robust year-round portfolio of academic programs, international internships, career preparation courses and business opportunities.

Snyder also visited the Hikone Castle, considered to be the most significant historical building in Shiga Prefecture, and the temple complex Enryaku-ji located on Mount Hiei in the capital city ?tsu.

Following Monday’s conference, Snyder flew to Germany where he will visit the 66th Frankfurt Auto Show and meet with top executives from supply chain companies and part suppliers.

Since Snyder took office in 2011, Michigan has attracted $1.064 billion in new investments from Japanese companies and $1.136 billion from Germany.

Other missions led by Snyder or Lt. Gov. Brian Calley have included China, South Korea, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Chile, and Columbia.