A group of Japanese businessmen recently toured southern and eastern Idaho looking for business opportunities.
Seven representatives from Japanese companies traveled to Idaho July 10-13 to learn more about the state and potential opportunities to partner with Idaho businesses, according to Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI). These Japanese businesses met with an Idaho team that visited Japan in April. They are specifically interested in investing in Idaho, REDI said.
The tour included the Koenig Distillery in Nampa, Idaho Milk Products in Jerome, Clif Bar in Twin Falls, the ribbon cutting of the NewCold freezer facility in Burley, Mart Produce in Rupert, Inergy Solar in Chubbuck, BYU-Idaho in Rexburg, and the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) in Idaho Falls, as well as meetings with local officials.
The visitors were particularly interested in machining and industrial product design, said Nathan Murray, economic development director for the city of Twin Falls.
“I was told by a couple of them that they most enjoyed visiting Clif Bar and seeing the automated packing,” Murray said. “They were also interested in some food and the processing of local materials to make products that could then be exported back to Japan.”
Idaho and Japan business leaders have been seeing a lot of each other lately. Sakae CEO Takashi Suzuki visited Idaho Falls in March 2016 on a sister city visit with other business executives. Ohzen Precision Machining Cutting, a partner of Sakae, is setting up shop in Idaho Falls to make titanium after-market parts for Harley-Davidson motorcycles. In November, the Idaho Department of Commerce awarded a nearly $238,000 Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission grant to the University of Idaho, Boise State University, and CAES to partner with Sakae Casting on research and development on spent nuclear fuel storage and cooling capabilities.