The USA and Japan share a long, colorful past. Their strong ties began with the early immigration of Japanese to the U.S. West Coast. The huge demand for railroad and agricultural workers in Southern California, particularly in Los Angeles and in surrounding areas, from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s laid down the foundations for Japanese immigration in the region.
After 160 years of shared history, the USA and Japan have become strong partners in diplomacy and trade. This is especially evident in Southern California, where Japan remains the largest source of foreign direct investment and significant driver of its economy. As of January 2020, there are around 800 Japanese companies in Southern California, which generate about 80,000 jobs.
Both sides look forward to a further flourishing of relations with the accession of Japan’s Emperor Naruhito last May and the start of Reiwa Era, which aspires to bring “beautiful harmony” between Japan and its friends, and with a signing of a new limited trade deal.
Continuing its coverage of the USA in The Japan Times, GMI Post will extensively explore Southern California’s partnership with Japan. Lala Cortes and Kenneth Wong report from the field. Follow their updates here and here.