Monday, June 06, 2005

WV: Manchin's Building of Business Relations

The bond between West Virginia and Japan continues to grow stronger, Gov. Joe Manchin and first lady Gayle Manchin told students at Buffalo High School on Thursday while the Manchins were in Japan.

The Manchins spoke from Nagoya, Japan, near Toyota's headquarters through video conference technology. The Manchins; Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.; and business leaders in the state are touring Japan on a trade mission. The Manchins say they want the trip to Japan to result in attracting more Japanese industry to West Virginia. Which is very likely to happen.

"We are building off of the automotive success in West Virginia," Joe Manchin said. "Most companies here are active in the home entertainment industry and other technologies. We are learning how diverse they are. We hope to build off that."

Japan has made significant contributions to the state of West Virginia, the Manchins said Thursday. The Toyota manufacturing plant began operations in 1998 and has been a success in all accounts. The success of the Toyota plant in Buffalo sets a precedent for other companies about the business environment of West Virginia, Joe Manchin said.

"If Toyota can do that, maybe they can, too. It is opening doors," Joe Manchin said. "You have given us another tool to sell West Virginia."

Japanese industry accounts for 18 companies in West Virginia, with more than $2 billion in investments made in the state. Japan holds potential for many technology-oriented businesses outside of automobiles, as well, Joe Manchin said.

"A lot will happen in the next few years with developing technology," Manchin said. "You are seeing the development of the hybrid car and home entertainment."

Aside from the business investments Japan has in West Virginia, the Japanese government began funding the Japanese language class at Buffalo High School, located about a mile from the Toyata Plant, about five years ago, 2 years after the Toyota Plant began operations. Evidently, Japan has interests in West Virginia, and a positive business relationship is building.

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