Mayor travels to Japan

After the past two years of COVID made international travel difficult, Seymour and Jackson County leaders returned to Japan. It was the first economic development visit to Japan by an Indiana community since 2019.

Pictured: Jim Plump, Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson and Paul Roland, who currently heads up the Japan office for the State of Indiana.Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson and Jim Plump, executive director of Jackson County Industrial Development Corp., visited Japan the week of Aug. 28 through Sept. 3 to meet with companies that have invested in Jackson County. They traveled to Tokyo and Nagoya and attended an international trade show in Kobe with Indiana officials headquartered in Japan.

“A very good, productive trip,” Plump said, noting the pandemic had prevented Nicholson from visiting Japan since he took office in 2020. “The companies were pleased to meet the mayor, and we had great discussions with them about their future plans for our area.”

A visit to Aisin Corp. in the Nagoya area offered Nicholson and Plump the opportunity to meet President Moritaka Yoshida, who assumed his position a year ago after 40-plus years at Toyota. They also met with former Chairman of the Board, Kenshiro Toyoda, who was instrumental in the company selecting Seymour for its first U.S. manufacturing operation in 1986 and subsequent investments in Crothersville and Seymour.

“Not to state the obvious, but a very impressive company,” Nicholson said after the visit, which also included discussions on upcoming changes to the automotive industry.

Pictured: Seymour Mayor Matt Nicholson and Sam Hattori, former president of Aisin USA ManufacturingPrior to the trip to Nagoya, Nicholson and Plump were in Tokyo to meet with several companies and trade organizations, including Nippon Steel Pipe (formerly Seymour Tubing). There they met with Nick Hiro, who recently returned to Japan after spending time in Seymour as president of the local Nippon Steel Pipe facility.

In addition, a meeting with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) offered the pair a good overview of the Japanese economy post-COVID. Other meetings were held with management of Cummins-Japan and the trade organization of Toyota.

“We were also able to meet with Paul Roland, who currently heads up the Japan office for the State of Indiana as well as past directors of the Indiana office,” said Nicholson. “That really provided me with a good history of Jackson County’s work in Japan.”

So far this year, Japanese companies have invested more than $80 million in their Jackson County facilities which will help create 83 jobs and retain nearly 2,800 workers.




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