JETRO New York President Issei Hatakeyama Presents at the Japan-Virginia Society

Oct 17, 2019


On September 19th, JETRO New York President, Issei Hatakeyama presented to the board members of the Japan-Virginia Society on the business activities of Japanese companies in the United States. J.R. Smith, Chairman of the Japan-Virginia Society and Partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth, LLP, hosted this meeting at the firm’s office in Richmond, VA.


The substantial contributions that Japanese companies continue to make to the US economy often go unnoticed in America.  Through JETRO’s original research, especially, the annual JETRO Survey on Business Conditions of Japanese Companies in the US, we can learn of the tremendous economic contributions of Japanese business activities in the US, as well as their challenges and opportunities they see for the US market. It has been JETRO’s mission to clearly convey a current picture and accurate data of Japan’s investment dynamic to our state and local leaders as well as the business community in order to sustain and grow the US-Japan economic relationship.


To convey some perspectives of JETRO’s economic research at this meeting, President Hatakeyama explained to the society’s board members that Japan’s investment in the United States at the end of 2017 increased 98.6% from 2009, with the actual total investment amount reaching $236.7 billion. On the important workforce topic, the total number of American employees at Japanese companies in 2016 was 860,600, which is 12.1% of the entire foreign affiliated countries combined employment in the US.  


The investment balance at the end of 2017 increased 98.6% from 2009, and the total investment amount ($236.7 billion) in the same period is second only to that of Canada.


Just focusing on the manufacturing sector, 397,000 employees (2016) are currently working in Japanese affiliated production companies in America.  And President Hatakeyama showed that Japan consistently ranks among the top three, in all but one state, in the US when it comes to the number of Japanese-owned enterprises that have employees and assets, sales or net profit (or net loss) over $20 million. 


In 49 US states, (except for Wyoming) Japan ranks in the top three for the number of Japanese-owned enterprises that have employees and assets, sales or net profit (or net loss) over $20 million.


Upon surveying Japanese companies in the US, the significance is seen in the profit results, where 70% of the companies mentioned they have been profitable for the past 7 years. And 54.2% plan on expanding operations, 40.9% increased local employees, and 58.1% plan on procuring in the US. 


On the topic of business sentiment, our JETRO survey indicates that the challenges for most of these companies have been in the areas of: workforce talent, retention of workers, and an increase of tariff rates. The actual data shows that 69% of our respondents showed concerns of recruiting workers while 65.6% faced challenges over labor costs. 44.7% were facing issues with the increase of tariff rates. 


As far as the presentation’s outcome, Anthony J. Romanello, Executive Director of Henrico County Economic Development Authority, mentioned, “The meetings were very helpful to my understanding and we look forward to working with JETRO. Olga Molnar, Vice President, Global Investment of Greater Richmond Partnership, “I found Mr. Hatakeyama’s presentation very insightful and educational. I was surprised to learn that Japanese companies had such a big presence in almost every state in the USA. In fact, in our region we have 16 Japanese-owned companies which employ about 1,850 people. We hope to attract more Japanese companies to our region and continue their growth.” 


As JETRO’s grassroots initiative moves forward, President Hatakeyama continues to visit numerous states, specifically in the northeastern region of the United Sates to meet and inform of state and local officials, the local communities and public leaders.


For more information or if interested in the presentation, please contact Daiki Nakajima of New York at