Japan-Wisconsin Trade: Evers Heads To Japan, With Forecast Of Success

Sep 3, 2019

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is heading to Japan on Friday. This is his first international trade mission since being elected. He's scheduled to visit Tokyo, Yokohama and Chiba City. He's also planning to attend this year's Midwest U.S. -Japan Association conference, along with some other governors.

Evers' trip continues Wisconsin's long association with Japan. That connection got a big boost in 1973 when a Japanese firm, Kikkoman Foods, began making soy sauce in Walworth.

Lately, more Japanese companies have been purchasing corporations here. Those Wisconsin firms include Komatsu Metals in West Milwaukee, Fuji-Film Medical Systems in Wauwatosa, and Hitachi Metals in Waupaca.

Japan's Chicago-based Consul General Naoki Ito recently toured those Wisconsin companies. Ito says he hopes the governor does well.

“I expect that Gov. Evers will establish an even better Wisconsin brand while he is in Tokyo this time around. I hope he’ll be able to see some of the government ministers, and some of the companies, which have been making investments in Wisconsin, so they can consolidate their partnership," Ito says.

But there have been some rocky moments in U.S- Japan trade over the last year, mainly due to the controversy over U.S. tariffs.

Last week, the two nations announced an agreement on "core principles" covering agriculture, industrial tariffs and digital trade. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe say they hope to sign a trade deal later in September. But there are more details to be worked out, including on the issue of automobile tariffs.