August 6, 2018
From July 30 (Mon.) to August 4 (Sat.), 2018, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited the state of California, and the Midwestern states of Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, of the United States of America.
In California, Minister Seko exchanged views with representatives of startups and accelerators as well as opinion leaders and researchers playing key roles in San Francisco and Silicon Valley concerning fields in which Japan and the U.S. should cooperate in addressing the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In addition, he explained Japan’s efforts for facilitating its Connected Industries policy.In the three Midwestern states, Minister Seko visited production and development bases in which Japanese automobile manufactures have been investing, and exchanged views with stakeholders there, including suppliers of automobile parts. Following this, Minister Seko held meetings with local leaders including Mr. Eric J. Holcomb, the Governor of Indiana, city mayors in areas where Japanese companies have been investing, and economic leaders in these states. Moreover, he attended an investment seminar organized by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and gave interviews with local media. Through these occasions, he reiterated and emphasized the importance of Japanese investment in these states and their contribution to the local economy through employment.
1. In the State of California
(1) Exchanging views with Japanese entrepreneurs
Minister Seko held a meeting at Stanford University and exchanged views with key Japanese entrepreneurs, many of whom are basing their operations in the San Francisco Bay Area.
(2) Visiting Orbital Insight
Minister Seko visited Orbital Insight, a company analyzing data on a significant amount of satellite images using artificial intelligence and providing a variety of solutions to businesses, and exchanged views with the representatives of the company.
(3) Visiting Plug and Play Tech Center
Minister Seko visited Plug and Play Tech Center, a company establishing a system of support companies in areas around Silicon Valley and having bases worldwide, and exchanged views with the representatives of the company and Japanese companies taking part in the Plug and Play Tech Center system.
(4) Visiting the headquarters of Google
Minister Seko visited the headquarters of Google, received introductions to programs for assisting startups that the company has been providing, and exchanged views with representatives of the company.
(5) Visiting the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, World Economic Forum (WEF)
Minister Seko visited the WEF Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which was established in March 2017, and delivered a speech. Following this, he received explanations from researchers of the center on progress in specific fields such as policies involving data, drones and healthcare, and exchanged views with them concerning ideal approaches to future collaboration between the center and the WEF Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Japan.
(6) Meeting with local opinion leaders
Minister Seko held a meeting with opinion leaders representing the San Francisco area concerning future relationships between Japan and the U.S.
(7) Visiting a hydrogen station
Minister Seko visited a remotely-monitored unmanned hydrogen station in South San Francisco, received explanations on the station from a representative of the operating company and experienced refueling hydrogen into a fuel-cell vehicle.
(8) Visiting Gladstone Institutes
Minister Seko visited Gladstone Institutes and exchanged views with researchers, including Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, Senior Investigator of Gladstone Institutes and a professor of Kyoto University, who have been engaging in research through the institutes, as well as business owners concerning industry-academia collaboration and the current situation of the management thereof.
(9) Delivering a speech at the Special Lecture Meeting of the Japan Society of Northern California
Minister Seko delivered a speech at the special lecture meeting, organized by the Japan Society of Northern California, in which over 160 audience members participated, and urged future policies for innovation and the strengthening of Japan-U.S. economic ties. He also attended a Q&A session.
2. In the Three Midwestern states
(1) Holding a meeting with Governor Holcomb, Indiana
Minister Seko held a meeting with Governor Holcomb, Indiana, at the Governor’s Office in the Indiana State Capitol. Both sides held discussions on economic ties between Japan and the State of Indiana and shared recognition on the contribution of Japanese companies developing business in the state to the regional economy and cooperation for further enhancement of Japan-U.S. economic ties.
(2) Visiting a plant of Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc.
Minister Seko visited an automobile-assembly plant of Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. which has been operating since 1987 in Lafayette, Indiana, and exchanged views with employees of the plant.
(3) Delivering a keynote speech and participating in a panel discussion at a JETRO investment seminar
Minister Seko participated in an investment seminar organized by JETRO held in Columbus, Ohio. He delivered a keynote speech and participated in a Q&A session held as part of the panel discussion at the seminar. Through the keynote speech, he stressed Japanese companies’ contribution to the local economy through their investment in the state.
(4) Meeting with mayors and senior officials of cities in Ohio
Minister Seko held a meeting with the mayors and senior officials of cities in Ohio with which Japanese companies have strong relationships, including Findlay, Sidney, Marysville and Dublin, and exchanged views concerning Japanese companies’ contribution to the local economy through their investment in the cities and other issues.
(5) Meeting with executives of Japanese automobile-parts manufacturers in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan
Minister Seko held meetings with executives of Japanese automobile-parts manufacturers and other companies in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan and exchanged views concerning the economic situations of these states and other issues.
(6) Meeting with local economic leaders in Detroit and neighboring area of Detroit
Minister Seko held a meeting with local economic leaders in Detroit and neighboring area of Detroit, including the Mayor of Detroit and the President/CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, and exchanged views concerning Japanese companies’ contribution to the U.S. economy through their investment in the country and other issues.
(7) Visiting Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
Minister Seko visited Toyota Motor North America, Inc. in Michigan. He toured the sites, including a collision experiment site, and test-drove an autonomous driving car that the company is developing. Following this, he traveled by the autonomous driving car to the Toyota Research Institute, a cutting-edge R&D base of the company for artificial intelligence and other technologies, and exchanged views with American researchers and representatives of the Institute.
(8) Receiving interviews from local media in respective states
Minister Seko proactively received interviews with the local and regional media in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, and reiterated and emphasized Japanese companies’ contribution to the U.S. economy through their investment in the country.
Division in Charge
Americas Division, Trade Policy Bureau