Trade has historically driven japan-U.S. economic relations as the story of Asian immigrants and entrepreneurs in the United States has shown. Green field investments have succeeded in Colorado because of the combination of the conducive conditions and the determination of its business community.
Atsushi Yamakoshi, Executive Director at Keidanren USA, values the significance of building those bilateral relationships and believes that Colorado is a place of great opportunities.
He said: “Not many people know the business environment. The high tech industry here is developed quite well; they’re now calling it the Silicon Mountain.”
Atsushi, over the years, has witnessed traditional business activities in exporting move on to greenfield investments and are now engaged in mergers and acquisitions with Japanese companies.
Sakata Farms, a producer of onions and America’s favorite ‘sweet corn’, is a product of daring entrepreneurship and has become a cornerstone of the local community.
Almost 90-years-old, Japanese-American Bob Sakata moved from California to Colorado after the Second World War so that he could continue being a farmer. Sakata and his family has since expanded their farmland to more that 4,000 acres, with Japan being its third-largest market.
As co-founder of the Brighton Community Hospital, Sakata is one of Colorado’s most prominent Japanese-American citizens. He is a recipient of the Pioneer Award given by the Japan America Society.
Sakata Farms’ growth attracted the attention of Japanese Emperor Akihito, who visited the farm in 1994 to see firsthand how agricultural technology was used for the business’s sustainable growth.
He said: “It takes vision of what you think you can accomplish and you have to be very persistent. We have third-generation people working here. We can’t put a fence around Colorado. Everybody wants to come here.”
Charlene Thai, General Manager from Asahi Food Inc., shares a similar appreciation for the highly influential population of Asian entrepreneurs coming to the state.
Opened just four-and-a-half years ago, the company sells Japanese foods in the United States and supplies to 80% of Japanese restaurants in Colorado.
Thai, a Taiwanese entrepreneur and fluent speaker of Japanese, said: “We’re doing well to work as a bridge in connecting both Chinese and Japanese culture in the U.S. society. This makes us unique.”