HRG in Japan

In April, the KY Chamber of Commerce hosted a Trade Mission to Japan, the first of its kind since Toyota moved to Kentucky during the Governor Martha Layne Collins administration. About 30 notable community leaders from Kentucky made the trek, including the Governor, Steve Beshear, our own Lyle Hanna, David Adkisson , the President of the KY Chamber of Commerce, and the President of Commerce Lexington, Bob Quick.

Lyle Hanna, Governor Steve Beshear, and Michaelene and Wil James

Lyle Hanna, Governor Steve Beshear, and Michaelene and Wil James

Led by Wil James, the President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc., the goal was to thank Toyota for the continued investment in Kentucky, particularly the most recent addition of the Lexus production lines. Toyota may be one of the most well-known Japanese companies in the state, but there are actually over 150 with significant investments in Kentucky, so a secondary goal of the trip was to enhance relationships with those companies and hopefully encourage continued relationships.

One way in which the relationships with these Japanese businesses were celebrated and strengthened was through a trip to the American Ambassador’s compound to attend an event hosted by Ambassador Caroline Kennedy. All of the KY Japanese companies were invited, and over 50 of them joined the mission members for the festivities.

Wil James, Caroline Kennedy, and Wil James making a toast!

Wil James, Caroline Kennedy, and Wil James making a toast!

A highlight of the evening was spending time with two miniature horses brought by the parent company of Jim Beam, Suntory. Ambassador Kennedy is a huge fan of horses and stated that she had wanted to have horses on the grounds since she arrived, so as you can see from the photo below, she is delighted to have her wish fulfilled!

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and miniature horses at the Ambassador’s compound.

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and miniature horses at the Ambassador’s compound.

The action-packed trip also included a visit to Toyota City, where the many activities and investments of Toyota are on display. Two of the most impressive displays were the efficient home models and the hydrogen powered cars; the cars will even be sold in California in the coming year.

Concept car at Toyota City

Concept car at Toyota City

Overall, the trip was a wonderful success in that it gave community leaders an opportunity to explore new business opportunities as well as thank the many investors in our commonwealth for their continued support. Keep an eye out for upcoming travel updates from HRG; our team can be found all over the world, and we can’t wait to fill you in! For more photos from this trade mission to Japan, please check out the Photo album on our website.

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