TOKYO, JAPAN - Gov. Tomblin today hosted a gathering of West Virginia University's Japan Alumni Chapter in Tokyo. Thirty WVU alumni who now live in Japan attended the meeting. The governor gave them an update on West Virginia's business climate, showed a video highlighting the success of West Virginia's Japan Office, and presented them with a special WVU coin on behalf of WVU President E. Gordon Gee.
The event marked the first time a West Virginia governor has met with the chapter.
"To hold a gathering like this in Tokyo is a remarkable sign of West Virginia's presence on the global stage and the strong ties between our state and Japan," Gov. Tomblin said. "It's wonderful to have these loyal Mountaineers serving as ambassadors for our state halfway around the world. Although they're far away geographically, they're still passionate about West Virginia's success. It was a pleasure to be able to spend a few hours with them."
The event had a diverse guest list, with alumni in fields such as translation, television, banking, medicine and engineering.
Atsuhiko Nishi, president of the chapter, said, "The alumni meeting today with the group from West Virginia was a first for our chapter. We've been meeting with each other, but it was an honor to have them here. We are grateful to see people from West Virginia."
Nishi, a 1987 WVU graduate who works for Nomura Research Institute, was pleased to hear about the state of West Virginia's economy.
"I haven't been to West Virginia for over 25 years," he said. "Seeing the video and learning about the state's progress was exciting. For us, it was encouraging to hear how the state has improved and continues to improve."
Gov. Tomblin is leading a trade mission to Japan, meeting with existing business partners and prospects while also celebrating the 25th anniversary of the state's Japan office. Today, in addition to the WVU alumni gathering, the governor met with the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and with a Japanese company considering an investment in the state. On Wednesday, the delegation will travel to Yokohama to attend and host a seminar at the JSAE automotive trade show, the largest trade show of its type in Japan.
This marks Gov. Tomblin's second trade mission to Japan. Since his visit in 2012, Japanese companies have announced seven expansions to their operations in West Virginia totaling million in new investments and 231 new jobs. Today, 20 Japanese firms employ more than 3,000 hardworking West Virginians.