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Gov. Tomblin to lead trade mission to Japan

Trip marks the 25th anniversary of West Virginia’s Nagoya Office

CHARLESTON, W.Va.  — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today announced he will lead a business mission to Japan May 12 through 21. The trip also will mark the 25th anniversary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce’s Nagoya Office. The mission’s goals will be to celebrate and strengthen the ties the state has established with investors over the past 25 years and to attract new business investments to West Virginia.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin

“We understand great business is built on great relationships, and I’m grateful for the vision of Governor Gaston Caperton, who with then-U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller led the first West Virginia investment mission to the Chubu region, the center of Japan’s manufacturing hub,” Gov. Tomblin said. “We’re proud of the strong relationships we’ve built over the years, treasure the friendships we’ve made and look forward to ongoing productive discussions to support job growth and investment in the Mountain State.”

Gov. Tomblin will be joined on the mission by former Gov. Gaston Caperton, who authorized the opening of the Nagoya office during his first term.  Since the office opened, the state has seen millions of dollars in investments from Japanese companies.  Today, 20 Japanese firms employ more than 3,000 hardworking West Virginians.

The mission’s itinerary includes stops in Nagoya, Yokohama and Tokyo. Outreach efforts include exhibiting and hosting a seminar at JSAE (Japan’s largest automotive trade show), the governor speaking to the Nagoya Chamber of Commerce and nearly a dozen private meetings with both current and prospective investors.  For the first time, the governor will also attend a reception with the West Virginia University Alumni Association’s Japan Chapter and its 75 members.

This marks Gov. Tomblin’s second trade mission to Japan. Since his visit in 2012, Japanese companies have announced seven expansions to their operations in West Virginia totaling $144 million in new investments and 231 new jobs.

Traveling in the delegation are:

• Former Governor W. Gaston Caperton III

• Keith Burdette, Cabinet Secretary, West Virginia Department of Commerce
• Steve Spence, Director, International Division, West Virginia Development Office
• Hollie Hubbert, Asia Pacific Project Manager, West Virginia Development Office
• Chelsea Ruby, Director of Marketing & Communications, West Virginia Department of Commerce
• Kris Hopkins, Director, Business and Industrial Development , West Virginia Development Office
• Tom Heywood, Managing Partner, Bowles Rice LLP
• Lloyd Jackson, President, Jackson Resources Company
• Cam Huffman, President, Wood County Development Authority
• Mark Whitley, Director, Jackson County Development Authority
• Andrew Dunlap, Director, Putnam County Development Authority
• Matt Ballard, President, Charleston Area Alliance
• David Graley, Board Member, Huntington Area Development Corporation
• Mami Itamochi, Coordinator, International Education, West Virginia Department of Education

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