Chicago-Japan Delegation: Strengthening Economic Ties and Generating 13 New Investment Projects | World Business Chicago



Chicago-Japan Delegation: Strengthening Economic Ties and Generating 13 New Investment Projects

Chicago’s 50-year-strong relationship with Japan was strengthened by a delegation trip to Osaka and Tokyo by World Business Chicago and the City of Chicago, Deputy Mayor Kenya Merritt last month. From October 30th to November 3rd, the group of 30+ delegates connected with 120+ business, non-profit, and civic leaders. 


The result? 13 new prospective federal direct investment projects in the sector areas of advanced manufacturing, IT, financial services, and quantum. Japan is a strong global economic partner to Chicago with 650 Japanese facilities and establishments in Illinois and over 500 in the Chicagoland region. This translates into over 40,000 direct jobs in Illinois, and we can estimate the majority of those jobs are in the Chicagoland region.

 The delegation’s three main objectives include:

  1. Promote Chicagoland as a global leader and a prime region for business and investment in one of Chicagoland’s foremost economic partners on the global stage.
  2. Strengthen our economic relationship with Chicagoland’s 3rd largest source of foreign direct investment, and 5th largest trading partner (2nd export partner and 5th import partner)
  3. Facilitate collaboration among Chicagoland leaders and their counterparts to exchange best practices, promote innovation, and strengthen economic ties in sectors such as quantum, manufacturing, and financial services.


Chicago Sister Cities International highlights key moments of the delegation

Among the highlights of the trip was the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Chicago-Osaka sister city relationship and the remarkable economic strides made between our two countries. The trip to Japan was a meticulously curated blend of business, economic development, culture, and culinary experiences.

The 30+ person strong delegation of business and civic leaders had a full itinerary in both Tokyo and Osaka. In Tokyo, the delegation met with US Ambassador to Japan – and former City of Chicago Mayor – Rahm Emanuel, and his team at the US Embassy, where they received an insightful briefing about the current economic and political situation in Japan, as well as attended a welcome reception at the Ambassador’s residence in honor of the delegation. The delegation then met with JETRO – Japan External Trade Organization, who organized an interactive and highly engaging meeting with 70+ Japanese companies who are interested in investing or expanding in the USA. The alumni of Northwestern University and the Kellogg Club Japan brought together a group of Northwestern alumni in Japan to meet with the delegation, and the delegation also visited several start-up incubators, IBM’s UTokyo Lab, Rapyuta Robotics, J-Power, FinCity.Tokyo, and KATO Tokyo to round out the Tokyo itinerary.

In Osaka, the delegation was warmly received by Osaka Mayor Yokoyama and his staff at Osaka City Hall and later at a wonderful reception to celebrate the remarkable 50-year relationship between Osaka and Chicago, who have been sister cities since 1973. A welcome reception was also held at Universal Studios Japan hosted by the U.S. Consulate General Osaka-Kobe. The Osaka business delegation itinerary included a visit to the Umekita Development and Chicago business sector presentations to more than 30 Japanese companies. The delegation in Osaka culminated in Deputy Mayor Kenya Merritt, Osaka Mayor Yokoyama, WBC President and CEO Michael Fassnacht, and The Magnificent Mile Association President and CEO Kimberly Bares, kicking off the Festival of Lights on Midosuji Boulevard, Chicago’s Michigan Avenue sister street.


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