Known as the Centennial State, blessed with its mass-geographic diversity and an airport nearly twice the size of Manhattan, Colorado is fast growing to become an international hub.
Colorado has enjoyed a strong historical bond with the local Japanese-American community, dating back to the policies under the administration of Gov. Ralph Carr in the 1940’s.
We met with Makoto Ito, Consul General of Japan in Denver, who said: “I think Colorado is important for Japan because of the emerging business opportunities here. There is a high quality of workforce here, with around 42% of workers having a bachelor’s degree or higher level qualification.”
The state has been growing on the back of the following sectors: transportation, education, information technology and research, mining and tourism.
The Consul General said that there is a population of 4,000 Japanese people now living in Colorado, with a further 20,000 Japanese-Americans living in the state, as third and fourth generations.
Denver is seen now, as both a destination and transit hub for both Japanese businesses and tourists entering the country.
Karen Gerwitz, President of World Trade Center Denver, said: “In both ways, it’s a good access point to see the region around us. I think it’s definitely helped with trade and tourism. It’s been a phenomenal win for us and our relationship with Japan.”
There are now 90 Japanese-related companies in Colorado, which includes Sumitomo Metal Mining, Hitachi Data Systems, Panasonic Enterprise Solutions and Terumo BCT, Japan’s largest medical device maker.
Tom Clark, CEO of Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, sees opportunities in welcoming more Japanese students to the city, as Colorado evolves into a greener and more tech-based state.
Clark said: “If you look at tech-based metropolitan areas, you look at Japan as a huge benchmark. The things that drive the Japanese economy are the same things that drive our economy.”
Organized by the World Trade Center Denver, the city is hosting its 43rd Annual World Trade Day, considered the premier international business event in the Rocky Mountain region.
This year, the event’s theme will explore the Trans-Pacific Partnership and will gather companies and government officials from all 11 member-countries, including Japan.
In 2015, the event brought together more than 500 business leaders, American and foreign.