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Japan-US Economic Forum in Los Angeles - Japanese Prime Minister calls for direct investment into Japan

May 2015

On May 1, JETRO held a seminar for business people in Los Angeles aiming to promote trade and investment between the US and Japan. In their speeches, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was traveling in the country, US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy called for direct investment into Japan and further development of the US-Japan partnership. This seminar attracted 450 attendees, highlighting the growing interest in business with Japan and outward investment into the country, among US companies.

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Scene of venue

Raising awareness of JETRO as Japan’s core promoter of FDI

In his opening remarks on behalf of the organizer, JETRO Chairman and CEO Hiroyuki Ishige conveyed a strong message saying, “Abenomics has changed Japan. Many people and companies perceive that a virtuous cycle of economic growth has begun. Now is the time for US companies to expand business in Japan”. He also emphasized JETRO’s continued proactive support for overseas companies which consider direct investment into Japan, by saying, “The Abe administration is earnestly promoting direct investment into Japan and JETRO is a core organization to implement this initiative. To US companies considering investment into Japan, please do not hesitate to consult with us. Talk to JETRO first”.

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Opening remarks by JETRO Chairman Ishige

Growing interest in business with Japan driven by Abenomics

In the panel session, lively discussions were made by six US and Japanese companies under the theme “Changes in Japanese Market Driven by Abenomics and Growing US Market – Challenges Facing both Japanese and US Corporations”.

From the US side, CEO Thomas M. Siebel of C3Energy expressed great appreciation and expectations for the energy market in Japan. CEO Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson referred to expectations for the future healthcare market and the need to promote technological innovation. CEO Daniel S. Loeb of Third Point stated, “Abenomics has delivered tangible results such as reforms in corporate governance, boosted stock prices and expanded employment of women. I can feel stronger enthusiasm from Japan than several years ago”.

From the Japan side, the following three executives took part in the panel: Chairman and Representative Director Fumihiko Ike of Honda Motor; President and CEO Ken Kobayashi of Mitsubishi Corporation and Honorary CEO; and Chairman of the Board Yuzaburo Mogi of Kikkoman Corporation. They introduced their experience in developing business in the US and expressed enthusiasm for continued growth and contribution to the US economy.

With active interactions also conducted with the audience, the seminar provided an opportunity to deepen mutual understanding between the two countries and fully demonstrate the allure of Japan.

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Panel session

PM Abe and US senior officials call for more direct investment into Japan

Following the panel session, PM Abe, Secretary Pritzker and Ambassador Kennedy took the podium. They called for direct investment into Japan and further development of the US-Japan partnership.

Ambassador Kennedy emphasized the importance of two-way partnership for the success of both countries and requested US companies to visit Japan and actually feel the potential of the country. Secretary Pritzker reaffirmed US cooperation with the Abe administration and expressed the country’s commitment toward concluding the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP).

Lastly, in his remarks PM Abe said that direct investment is the foundation of US-Japan partnership and encouraged more direct investment into Japan from US companies. He stated his determination to proceed with his unified growth strategy both at home and abroad and enhance the locational competitiveness of Japan. With strong words from the Prime Minister hoping for the forum to be the beginning of a new relationship and age between the two countries, the seminar came to a successful conclusion.

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Speech by PM Abe

US and Japanese participants mingle at reception

At the reception following the seminar, speeches were given again by PM Abe, Secretary Pritzker and Ambassador Kennedy, along with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, President Hideo Miyake of the Japan Business Association of Southern California and ‎Senior Vice President Rona Tison of Ito En, a Japanese tea company. Within the same venue, 28 Japanese-affiliated companies and organizations residing in Los Angeles also exhibited their products. This offered an invaluable opportunity for these Japanese companies to demonstrate their contribution to the local economy and for participants from both the US and Japan to interact.

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Exhibition at reception

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Outline of "Japan-US Economic Forum"

Date May 1, 2015
Venue Millennium Biltmore Hotel
Organizer Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
Co-Organizer Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
Supporter City of Los Angeles, The America-Japan Society
Audience Approx. 450 500 persons from US and Japanese companies and organizations
Program Part I: Japan-US Investment Seminar
Opening remarks: Hiroyuki Ishige, Chairman and CEO, JETRO
Presentation and panel discussion:
- Thomas M. Siebel, CEO, C3Energy
- Alex Gorsky, CEO, Johnson & Johnson
- Daniel S. Loeb, CEO, Third Point
- Fumihiko Ike, Chairman and Representative Director, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (Chairman, Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. [JAMA])
- Ken Kobayashi, President and CEO, Mitsubishi Corporation
- Yuzaburo Mogi, Honorary CEO and Chairman of the Board, Kikkoman Corporation
Moderator: Mariko Sakakibara, Professor, UCLA Anderson School of Management
Address from US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy
Address from US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker
Address from the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe

Part II: Japan-US Economic Forum Reception
Address from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
Address from US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy
Address from US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker
Address from the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe
Address from President Hideo Miyake, Japan Business Association of Southern California
Address from ‎Senior Vice President Rona Tison, Ito En