Andrew Wylegala is the Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs at the Embassy of the United States in Japan.
Japan is the second largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the United States, with a total stock valued at $309.4 billion as of the end of 2012. According to our partners at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Japan registered its second-highest ever outbound investment level in 2012 at $122 billion, and Japanese investors chose to send 26 percent of that to American shores.
FDI isn’t just about capital: In 2011 more than 686,600 U.S. workers were employed by the U.S. subsidiaries of Japanese companies with an average wage of $78,356.
It’s clear that our investment relationship with Japan is a key contributor to the U.S. economy. That’s why our SelectUSA team and Commercial Service personnel in Japan joined U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy to host an investment showcase in Tokyo.
Japan’s Minister of State for Economic & Fiscal Policy Akira Amari and Ambassador Kennedy stressed at the investment showcase that few aspects of the broad United States-Japan partnership are more mutually beneficial than investment.
Dynamism was the first key concept. Japan has resumed its role as a powerhouse in cross-border direct investment. Japanese investors also continue to believe in the opportunities offered by the U.S. market.
For example, in 2012-13, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda expanded already sizable U.S. manufacturing footprints, contributing to the renaissance in American manufacturing.
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So what’s new? A wave of investment is under way, embracing sectors from cellular communications to carbon fiber; improved tomato seeds to Kentucky bourbon; economy hotels to the limits of the Japanese and American imagination!
A testament to the success of this investment showcase is Leslie Ken Yamada, president of Japan’s Sanikleen. He spoke about his company bringing its business model to Hawaii, having made important connections in the Hawaiian market with the help of the SelectUSA team.
Osaka-based Daiwa House and Dallas-headquartered Lincoln Property Company signed a memorandum of understanding to develop $1.5 billion worth of multi-family homes during the next three years, beginning with a joint project in Ft. Worth.
Mutuality was the second theme as Minister Amari and others stressed that the benefits of cross-border direct investment are multi-directional, flowing well beyond the country of investment, in the form of access to new markets and the generation of ideas that bubble up when individuals from diverse backgrounds work side-by-side.
Ambassador Kennedy observed: “Not only do investments create growth and jobs; they create advances that benefit society as a whole.”
For example, Olympus Surgical Technologies broke ground in December for a $37 million facility in Brooklyn Park, Minn. As an R&D, design, and manufacturing operation, the improvements in non-invasive surgery that engineers from both countries will develop in Minnesota will benefit patients worldwide.
We’ll continue to work closely with our friends in Japan to promote and facilitate investment. Thanks to the Association of American State Offices, JETRO, the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, and the Japanese government for contributing so much to our continued partnership.
If you’re a U.S. economic development organization aiming to attract increased FDI from Japan, please contact SelectUSA. We’re organizing a Road Show, May 19-23, in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka, and we’d love to have you join! Last year it sold out, so get in touch soon!