International Business Relations Highlighted at Japan-Northeast Indiana Summit

February 16th, 2018

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, in collaboration with the office of the Consulate-General of Japan in Chicago, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and JTL America, Inc., hosted the Japan-Northeast Indiana Summit today at the Grand Wayne Center, 120 W. Jefferson Blvd., Fort Wayne.

Government, community and business leaders who attended the event learned about Japan-Indiana business relations from industry experts representing Japan, the State of Indiana and local government and economic development organizations.

More than 280 Japanese-owned businesses operate in Indiana, demonstrating the strength and positive economic impact of the long-standing relationship between Indiana and Japan. Japanese companies have 24 locations in 10 counties in Northeast Indiana, employing thousands of people.

Event speakers included:

  • Consul-General of Japan in Chicago Naoki Ito
  • Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger
  • Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry
  • Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership President and CEO John Sampson
  • JETRO Chief Executive Director Ralph Inforzato
  • Japan-America Society of Indiana Executive Director Theresa Kulczak
  • JTL America, Inc. Chief Sales Officer Kevin Knight
  • OJI Intertech President Rick Sereno

The keynote presentation was given by Consul-General of Japan in Chicago Naoki Ito, who represents Japanese business interests in Indiana and nine other Midwestern states. The main purposes of his office are to serve Japanese nationals, represent the Japanese government and provide travel services and information about Japan to non-Japanese residents. On the economic front, he communicates with businesses in his 10-state jurisdiction and helps provide connections for companies looking to do business in Japan.

“Japanese companies know that Indiana is the place to be. Through the summit, we will shine a bright light on Northeast Indiana, which is home to Japanese companies in the motor vehicle parts, metal, electronic, and service sectors, including a medical and automotive testing laboratory. We will seize new opportunities to further boost new direct investment and trade both ways,” said Consul-General of Japan in Chicago Naoki Ito.

“With more than 280 Japanese businesses operating in Indiana today, Japan is the state’s largest foreign investor and one of our strongest economic and cultural partners,” said Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger. “We look forward to working with Consul General Ito, the Japanese government and business community, and our economic development partners in Northeast Indiana and throughout the state to enhance our global ties with Japan, attracting new investment and creating good jobs for Hoosiers in the coming years.”

“In today’s global economy, it’s critical to have partnerships to enhance economic development opportunities,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “The Japan-Northeast Indiana Summit is a great example of collaboration that demonstrates a collective commitment to working together to be part of an international effort to make a meaningful difference in our respective communities.”

“Our relationships with Japan have long been a part of our strength in manufacturing. These relationships are extremely important to our state and specifically Northeast Indiana. The Japan-Northeast Indiana Summit provided a prominent forum for the region to leverage this critical relationship,” said President and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership John Sampson. 

To learn more, visit the website at

About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership’s mission is to build, market and sell Northeast Indiana to increase business investment. Founded in 2006, the public-private partnership strives to build a globally competitive region. The Partnership’s Vision 2030 framework supports collaborative regional efforts to increase per capita income, population growth and educational attainment by focusing on business attraction, talent attraction and talent development. The Partnership represents 11 member counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. For more information, visit


Kate Virag
Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Communications
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership

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