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Greater Seattle: Still on the radar for growth

Feb 07, 2020
Credit : GMI Post

Starting with fur trading in 1791, the Greater Seattle region has done business with Japan for more than 200 years. And the area continues to offer partnership opportunities to Japanese companies.

While Mitsubishi capitalized on the region s aerospace expertise to test its jets, Sumitomo Life acquired Bellevue-based Symetra and Toray Industries set up a facility in Tacoma.

The Greater Seattle region is one of the few in the world with three deep-water ports and offers three daily nonstop flights between Seattle and Tokyo.

“We’re thankful for all the collaboration with our Japanese partners in all fields and want to continue building upon those great relationships,” Greater Seattle Partners CEO Brian McGowan said.

Formed in 2018, Greater Seattle Partners is focused on telling the regions success story. Tasked to promote trade and bring in more investments, GSP wants people around the world to know how Greater Seattle built one of the fastest growing economies in the United States.

The achievement is a testament to the strength of the three counties of King, Snohomish and Pierce. And although best known for Seattle, the area also covers other key cities such as Everett, Tacoma and Bellevue.

The region is one of the few in the world with three deep water ports and offers three daily nonstop flights between Seattle and Tokyo.

Because of its open business climate, Greater Seattle has attracted a highly educated, talented workforce that is ranked the world’s fifth-best concentration of talent. It also recently placed in the top five areas that created 90 percent of the tech jobs in the U.S.

While Microsoft and Amazon, two of the three highest valued companies in the world have their headquarters in the area, Greater Seattle is also the home of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Nintendo of North America, Costco, Nordstrom, Paccar, Weyerhaeuser, Tableau, Expedia, REI and Starbucks.

The quality of life here is great, but what s really special about this region is that it’s perfect for innovators and pioneers. We’re literally changing the world, McGowan said.

Moses Lake Industries: Steeped in family values

Feb 07, 2020
Credit : GMI Post

Nestled in the mountains east of Greater Seattle, Moses Lake has retained all the charms of small–town America, giving visitors a sense of peace and simplicity. Yet, it soon becomes clear that the city is not your average small town. It is well connected to major interstates with top institutes of education and an impressive electricity-generating reservoir. It is also home to four renowned Japanese companies.


Moses Lake Industries CEO Hiroyuki Era

Moses Lake Industries, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tama Chemicals, initially set up its operations there in 1984 because of significantly lower operating and manufacturing costs. But the company later appreciated the ease of doing business in Moses Lake. Over the last 10 years, Moses Lake Industries recorded positive growth, with figures over the last six years reaching double digits.

“The global semiconductor industry has been key to many other businesses especially in recent years due to the higher demand for artificial intelligence, ‘internet of things,’ automated vehicles and so on. Other factors have also played a part. For example, in Moses Lake, land and electricity are also relatively  cheaper,” Moses Lake Industries President Hiroyuki Era explained.

“However, the true strength of our company is in our employees and our commitment to them. We are a legacy company, proud of having hired many families and are thankful for being part of their lives,” Era added.

When Era was transferred to Moses Lake in 2001, it had 45 employees. Today, it employs nearly 10 times that number. While business has risen tenfold, the company has remained flexible and is always ready to serve its customers.

Kyokuyo: Committed to sustainability

Feb 07, 2020
Credit : GMI Post

Founded in Japan in 1937, Kyokuyo is a global leader in the production, sale and processing of fresh and frozen seafood. It launched its American operations in Seattle, Washington in 1971 as a procurement office for its headquarters in Japan. A few years ago, detecting a growing fondness for Japanese food among Americans, it began importing various sushi ingredients to the U.S.

“We saw that Americans loved sushi and sashimi and recognized the need for higher-quality food in the Japanese restaurants here in the U.S. We saw an opportunity there,” Kyokuyo America President Toshimitsu Hishinuma said.

Last year, Kyokuyo introduced its newest product, Tunagu, closed-cycle farmed bluefin tuna sourced from Ehime Prefecture. The company spent 30 years, in a joint venture with aqua feed maker Feed One, to successfully breed farm-raised bluefin tuna.

“In the U.S., customers are focused on sustainability and this is what we provide through Tunagu, sustainability, as well as quality,” Hishinuma said.

Kyokuyo’s Tunagu is delivered fresh to Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, New York and Boston on a weekly basis.

“We just jumped into the sales in the U.S., but I feel a lot of potential here. While Japan’s bluefin tuna is more expensive than that from Mexico and the Mediterranean, Americans understand the difference in quality and the importance of sustainability,” Hishinuma said.

U.S. Pacific Northwest 2019 was prepared for and originally printed in The Japan Times Newspaper.

PDF of the printed report

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