By Jordan Green
TROY — The consul general of the Japanese Consulate in Detroit, Yusuke Shindo, made his first visit to Troy on Tuesday, July 26 to meet with city officials and Japanese business leaders in the community.
“We are so excited to have the consul general visiting and to get to show him the community,” said Troy Mayor Robin Oda who extended the invitation in June.
Shindo and his wife, Seiko, met with Oda and other city officials at Smith’s Boathouse for lunch.
“I want to exchange views on economic development. And I want the local people to know more about Japan and Japanese cultural tradition. It is always beneficial to know each other,” said Shindo.
Shindo later toured the F&P plant and met with local Japanese business leaders.
“First, I have to listen to what they want to say and what challenges they are facing. I keep hearing, for example, about workforce shortages and sometimes supply chain [issues] and housing,” said Shindo on how he hopes to help Japanese businesses in the area.
Since 1989, when Troy became a sister city with Takahashi, Japan, Japanese companies have invested into the area. F&P America, owned by F-Tech out of the Saitama Prefecture in Japan, opened its’ Troy plant in 1993. Troy also works closely with the Japan-America Society of Central Ohio and the Japan External Trade Organization.
“[Japanese businesses] are an investment in the community. It gives us an international flavor and we have a sister city in Takahashi. It all just plays together in building a Japanese community here in Troy and we are happy to have that working relationship,” said Oda.
“I want to see more investment from Japan to Ohio. Generally, Japanese people who live here in Ohio, they are very happy. And you know, I want other Japanese people to know that Japanese people and Japanese companies operating here are happy and that it is a great place to invest,” said Shindo.
Troy is also home to the Western Ohio Japanese Language School; it is one of five Japanese language schools in the state of Ohio.
“I am interested in the education of the school children. And so, today, I am going to meet the principal of the Japanese school. Japanese people here are lucky because they have this school. And I want to hear how the school is doing,” said Shindo.
“I am very glad to meet with local officials. And [learn] what they do in regard to economic development, what kind of incentives they give, and what kind of opportunities there [are] in Troy. This future understanding is the key,” said Shindo.