(Mon zen no kozō narawanu kyō wo yomu)
Translation: An apprentice near a temple will recite the scriptures untaught.
Meaning: The environment makes our characters.
This week our team is in Japan to speak to companies across the country. Japan is a wonderful country, and its people have invested billions in Ohio and the Columbus Region. Their direct investment in our communities has benefited the Region financially and culturally.
Japan’s economic predicament is vexing. According the Japan Times, Japan’s population will decline by a third in the next 50 years. This creates market conditions that make it hard to grow within the country and puts an additional emphasis on export excellence. It creates a difficult stance in trade negotiations as well. While the world, including the U.S., would like Japan to open its borders, with such limited market growth it is rational for the country to protect its own businesses.
Even with long-term trends positioned against it, Japan remains one of the wealthiest and most technologically advanced economies in the world. Infrastructure which is already impressive is being made better in preparation for the Olympics in 2020, and Japan continues to balance economic growth with a long-term commitment to its beautiful mountains and coastlines.
I’m looking forward to our meetings this week with companies both large and small, and in a variety of industries. As always, I’m sure as soon as we return we will be planning our next trip to further this important partnership.
The Columbus Region is home to more than 120 Japanese-owned firms that employ over 22,000 people. Between 2013 and 2017, more than 45 company expansions and locations were by Japanese-owned firms, resulting in over 1,200 new jobs and $600 million in investment.
Columbus 2020 Update