Japan is proud to be invested in America and Americans

Japan is proud to be invested in America and Americans
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In his State of the Union address to Congress, President TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE touted the joint venture between Mazda and Toyota that will build a $1.6 billion auto assembly plant in Huntsville, Alabama, and create up to 4,000 American jobs. The president cited the Mazda-Toyota investment as proof that the United States is among the world’s top destinations for major investments in advanced manufacturing capacity.

Japanese companies and investors are proud to be invested in America. These investments create U.S. jobs and pay good wages in industries that will drive the future American economy. They also represent a long-lasting and deep-rooted commitment to communities across America.

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I had the opportunity to hear about this commitment firsthand when I recently introduced a panel of auto industry experts in conjunction with the 2018 Washington Auto Show. One of the panelists was Ted Klaus, vice president and executive engineer at Honda R&D Americas. Ted began his career with Honda R&D Americas in 1990 at the company’s Ohio R&D Center, which since has grown to become Honda’s second-largest R&D center in the world, employing over 1,600 associates. As global development leader, Ted led a worldwide team in the research, design and development of the Acura NSX mid-engine supercar, which is produced exclusively at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio, and sold as Honda’s flagship vehicle around the world.

 

Honda’s investment in Marysville began in 1978 with the production of motorcycles and expanded to automobiles in 1982, becoming the first Japanese auto manufacturing plant in the United States. Honda’s continued investment helped propel Ted’s career forward — and made his dream of creating a model car come true. With Honda’s R&D center and four state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Ohio providing careers and livelihoods to more than 10,000 U.S. workers, it’s safe to say his is but one of many similar stories.

Honda’s commitment to Ted, his coworkers and their communities in Ohio is just one of countless examples of investments in American society that made Japan the top international creator of U.S. jobs in 2017. Japanese investments in the United States have directly created more than 860,000 American jobs, nearly half of which are high-wage manufacturing jobs. Japanese companies operating in the United States pay their U.S. workers $80,000 per year, on average, which is significantly higher than average worker compensation in the United States.

Between 2003 and 2015, Japanese firms announced more than 1,400 separate investments in the United States, and Japan consistently has been the largest Asian investor in U.S. jobs and manufacturing capacity. Last year, Japanese investment in the United States hit a record $424 billion.

Those investments include new facilities, such as the 4.1 million-square-foot manufacturing facility Daikin Industries just built outside of Houston, Texas. It is the second-largest air conditioning factory in the United States and will employ an estimated 3,000 American workers. The nearly half-billion-dollar plant will help keep Texas at the forefront of manufacturing excellence.

Japanese investments also go toward expanding operations here in the United States, as Denso is doing with a $1 billion investment in advanced manufacturing at its Maryville, Tennessee, location to produce advanced safety, connectivity and electrification products for hybrid and electric vehicles. Denso’s investment will create an estimated 1,000 production and support jobs, including technicians and engineers.  

Just recently, on the morning of Feb. 14, in their 19th leader-to-leader phone call, President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed their hopes for additional investments by Japanese companies in the United States as a result of U.S. tax reform.

Japan is proud to be America’s closest ally based on the shared values of democracy, market-based economy and the rule of law. The relationship not only supports jobs for Americans in the United States, but is also key to promoting peace and prosperity in the region and around the world.

We thank President Trump for recognizing Japanese investments in America. As the new Mazda-Toyota investment in Alabama he highlighted shows, Japan remains committed to America, its communities and to Americans such as Ted Klaus.

Takehiro Shimada is the Minister for Communications and Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of Japan in Washington.