| Sep 20, 2012
Last week, I traveled to Tokyo for the 35th joint meeting of the Japan-U.S. Southeast Association and the Southeast U.S./Japan Association.
Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Economic Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty led the Tennessee delegation of 62 representatives, 41 of whom were from Middle Tennessee. The meeting was co-chaired by Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd., and Jack O. Bovender, Jr., retired chairman and CEO of HCA.
The theme of this year's meeting, "In Harmony with Tradition and Innovation," reflected the longstanding relationship between Japan and the southeastern U.S. The Japan-U.S. Southeast Association was established in December 1975 to promote trade, investment, understanding and friendship between Japan and member states of the southeast U.S. Current U.S. member states are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Japan is the largest foreign trading partner for the majority of these states, including Tennessee.
Since the formation of the Japan-U.S. Southeast Association, joint meetings have been held annually, with the venue alternating between the Southeast U.S. and Japan. Nashville hosted
the 34th meeting in October 2010 to great feedback.
The meetings provide opportunities for relationship-building among delegates and attract representatives from the private and public sectors, as well ...