View from the Tochigi Prefectural Government office.

We’re taking Boone County global this week, making a return trip to Japan after last visiting in May 2016. County Councilwoman Elise Nieshalla is joining me (Boone EDC Executive Director Molly Whitehead) this week to represent Boone County and the municipalities we serve as we thank our existing Japanese companies for their significant investment in our community and share the story of why it’s #BetterinBoone.

Molly & Elise with Paul Roland, the Director of the IEDC’s Japan office, are welcomed to Fukai Manufacturing.

Monday was a full day (we’re 14 hours ahead of Indiana, by the way), starting at 7 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. We spent the majority of our day in the Tochigi Prefecture. Tochigi is Indiana’s sister state, and Boone County happens to be the only community in the state of Indiana with a company from Tochigi — Fukai Manufacturing. You’ll all recognize it as part of FTIC in Jamestown.

We spent the morning talking with Fukai Manufacturing about their operations in Japan and Jamestown alike, how we can partner better together, and we discussed tangible ways to solve workforce challenges locally.

Elise exchanges gifts with Norio Suga, Director of the International Affairs Division of the Tochigi Prefectural Government.

From there, we visited with Tochigi Prefectural Government, where we discussed opportunities for educational and cultural partnerships for our communities. They treated us to some delicious dumplings afterwards, a specialty of Tochigi.

Local Tochigi crafts.

We’re thankful to have this opportunity to represent Boone County internationally and we’re grateful for the opportunity to make new friends and build existing relationships. I’ll continue to keep you updated as the week goes on.