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Iowa to host next year’s Midwest U.S./Japan Annual Meeting

(Radio Iowa) – Governor Terry Branstad – in the midst of a trade trip to Japan — today announced Iowa will host next year’s Midwest U.S./Japan Annual Meeting. Branstad spoke with reporters by phone from Tokyo, where he’s attending this year’s conference.

“I’ve just got a whole pocket full of business cards of people that told me they’re looking forward to coming to Iowa next year,” Branstad said.

Branstad expects a “couple of hundred” to make the trip to Iowa from Japan, and he said there’ll be “a lot more” business executives than government officials making the trip.

“They come regularly to this,” Branstad said. “This association has a long track record.”

Next year’s gathering will be the 46th annual Midwest U.S./Japan Association Annual Meeting, but dates have not yet been set. In addition to attending this year’s Midwest U.S./Japan annual meeting in Tokyo, Iowa Economic Development Authority director Debi Durham and the governor met today with a Japanese company looking to invest in the United States.

“I just want to stress that, you know, when you have the governor as your calling card, you meet with decision makers of companies and this was with the CEO of the company and I don’t know that we would have know that any other way had we not been here at this meeting,” Durham told reporters on this morning’s conference call.

Neither Durham nor Branstad will name the company they met with that’s considering an investment, but Branstad did say he’s met with executives of Japanese companies that have already invested in Iowa. That list includes Ajinomoto with two plants in Eddyville; NSK and AKA with facilities in Clarinda; Bridgestone with its tire plants in Des Moines and Muscatine; Toyota Financial with operations in Cedar Rapids and the Japanese chemical company building a plant in Osage.