Cabinet for Economic Development
Governor Beshear, Secretary Hindman to Make Economic Development Trip to Japan

Press Release Date:  Friday, June 06, 2008  
Contact Information:  Mandy Lambert, (502) 564-7670  

Mission will focus on business recruitment


FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 6, 2008) – Gov. Steve Beshear and Economic Development Cabinet Secretary John Hindman will depart Sunday for an economic development trip to Japan.  The trip will mark the first visit by Gov. Beshear to Japan as Governor. Joining the Governor and Sec. Hindman will be First Lady Jane Beshear who is Secretary of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, Governor’s Executive Cabinet Secretary Larry Hayes, Commissioner J.R. Wilhite, of the Department for New Business Development, and Commissioner George Burgess, of the Department for Existing Business Development. Joining the delegation is Alston Kerr. Ms Kerr is Chair of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation and Vice President of the Board of Directors of the World Games 2010 Foundation, Inc.

 In Japan, the Governor will work to establish relationships with businesses considering new investments in Kentucky, and to continue to strengthen relationships with firms that are operating and growing in the Commonwealth.  A May 2008 report on Japanese investment in Kentucky shows 154 facilities accounting for 39,764 jobs in 40 Kentucky communities.

“There is no better time than now to take advantage of our on-going successes while planting the seed for future growth of Japanese companies in Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “The value of the Yen against the U.S. dollar means these companies are actively looking for expansion opportunities in the United States. Kentucky has proven for 25 years that the Bluegrass state and its workforce can make that happen.”

Currently home to 393 international companies representing a workforce of more than 76,600 people, Kentucky has embraced the global business climate that exists today.  Japan is 1st among all countries in foreign direct investment in KentuckyThe Commonwealth also ranks 3rd in the number of Japanese-owned facilities in the U.S. according to a recent survey by JETRO, a Japanese government-related organization that promotes trade and investment.  

Mazak Corporation, the North American manufacturing, sales and support arm of the leading international machine tool builder, Yamazaki Mazak Corporation of Oguchi, Japan, was the first Japanese company to locate in Kentucky, opening its Florence facility in 1968.  Today, the company employs approximately 550 people.  

Other success stories such as Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky in Georgetown and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. in Erlanger have also spurred the continued growth of Kentucky’s Japanese companies.   

Earlier this year, Gov. Beshear announced the expansion of Toyota Boshoku America’s North American home office in Erlanger.  The project will result in 170 new jobs in addition to the company’s current 100 team members.   

Additionally, automotive-industry supplier American Howa Kentucky, Inc. recently celebrated the grand opening of its 80,000 square-foot facility in Bowling Green’s Kentucky Transpark.  With a total investment of more than $10 million, the company expects to create approximately 61 new full-time jobs within two years of operation. 

Kentucky has an aggressive strategy to attract foreign investment,” said Secretary Hindman.  “This trip will be a great opportunity for Governor Beshear to meet one-on-one with our Japanese clientele.  Relationships are a highly important factor in economic development, and having the governor lead these discussions shows just how serious Kentucky is about bringing business to the state.” 

For more information regarding the state’s international trade and recruitment efforts, please visit