Presented by
Japan-America Society of Indiana
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Grand Hall, Union Station, Indianapolis
123 W Louisiana St, Indianapolis, IN 46225

The Japan-America Society of Indiana thanks all who made the “Japan Currents Symposium 2023” an outstanding success!  The 12th annual business outlook conference was presented with the support of Honda Development and Manufacturing of America, the Embassy of Japan, and the National Association of Japan America Societies

With speakers from New York, Dallas, Silicon Valley, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Indiana, the program offered broad-based local and international perspectives focused on Japan-U.S. cooperation in manufacturing, technology, and innovation.

The Symposium opened with welcome remarks from Jim Riggs, President of the Japan-America Society of Indiana and President & CEO of NTN Driveshaft; Andrea Richter-Garry, Senior Vice President for Global Strategy & Engagement of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation; Andrew Wylegala, President of the National Association of Japan America Societies; and The Honorable Hiroshi Tajima, Consul-General of Japan in Chicago.

Consul-General Hiroshi Tajima’s comments celebrated the strong relationship between Japan and Indiana. He noted that Japan-U.S. collaboration is flourishing, expanding beyond current industries, and embracing innovative technologies necessary to cope with global issues.     

Shuji Onizawa, Indiana Auto Plant Lead, Honda Development and Manufacturing of America, gave the keynote corporate presentation. Onizawa-san highlighted the 15th anniversary of the Honda Indiana Auto Plant in Greensburg, Indiana. He spoke on the history of Honda and its global development strategy towards EVs, clean energy sources, and carbon neutrality. In particular, he noted future directions for the Indiana Auto Plant which indicate the importance of the Greensburg plant in ICE and hybrid vehicle production within Honda’s larger EV strategy. The presentation was especially timely given Honda’s recent announcement of plans to move production of Accord cars to Indiana.

Hiroyuki Nemoto, Chief Executive Director, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Chicago, gave updates from JETRO’s Survey of Business Conditions for Japanese Companies in the U.S. Japanese manufacturers employ more than half a million Americans, the highest among all international investors. Japanese companies are focused on pursuing innovative products and processes to maintain a high degree of global competitiveness, with Japanese investment in American R & D reaching record levels. Many existing Japanese manufacturers are planning for expansions. 
An important component of the Japan Currents program is the opportunity to bring fresh perspectives from Japan and Asia. 

We appreciated Thomas Shiekman, Senior Vice President and Global Lead for the Automotive & Mobility Practice of Intralink, who brought insights on trends in the Japanese automotive sector. Intralink is an international business development and innovation consultancy firm specializing in Asia. Tommy’s remarks provided industry perspectives from Japan and Asia, the status of Japan’s global markets and competitors, and current challenges of domestic markets in Japan. His forward-looking perspective was positive, and he remains confident in Japan’s strong position in the years to come.

Panel Speakers focused on innovation, technology, and the collaboration between Japan and US facilities in Indiana. The Panel companies have found success and growth in Indiana, through their expertise and delivery of new technologies, as well as through new business alliances, including acquiring and partnering with successful Indiana firms. The panelists also shared their cross-cultural experiences in developing their businesses in Indiana.

Panel Speakers:
Yoya Fukuda, President, Kimura Foundry America
Masaaki Tatsuke, Vice President, Strategy, Hitachi Industrial Holdings Americas
Greg Stevens, Chief Operation Office, Flexware Innovation
Hiroyuki Oshida, Chief Expert, Nomura Research Institute Holdings America
Takeo Fujimoto, Manager, Nomura Research Institute Holdings America
Moderator: Tracy Stachniak, Vice President of Human Resources, Toyota Material Handling

The Japan-America Society of Indiana thanks all the speakers, sponsors, attendees, and volunteers who made this year’s event a success. The feedback and comments have been very enthusiastic. It’s gratifying to know the program generated many new corporate connections and introductions.

Photos courtesy of Zach Dobson Photography.