Indianapolis—Governor Mitch Daniels joined Tochigi Governor Tomikazu Fukuda, the chairman of the Tochigi Legislature and other Japanese dignitaries Friday for a tree planting ceremony on the southeast lawn of the statehouse in honor of Indiana's relationship with Japanese sister-state Tochigi Prefecture.
"Today we enjoy a reciprocal opportunity to plant a symbolic tree in Indiana," said Daniels. "It will represent the strength of the people of Tochigi and the strength of our relationship with Japan."
"I hope that the tree will grow soundly and that the relationship between Tochigi and Indiana will continue to grow as well," said Fukuda, who will also visit Purdue University today to sign a memorandum of understanding for cooperative exchanges with Tochigi.
Today's reaffirmation of Indiana's long-term relationship with Tochigi comes on the heels of Lt. Governor Becky Skillman's September trade mission to Japan where she met with Indiana customers including Subaru, Sony, Toyota and Aisin. Also, Sunright America, a Japanese manufacturer of automotive fasteners, recently announced plans to grow its operations in Columbus, creating up to 100 new jobs by 2014.
Indiana counts Japan as its largest Asian trading partner and sixth-largest export country in the world according to the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Trade Database. In 2010, the Hoosier state had 214 Japanese business facilities with more than 40,500 employees.