|The Toyota facility in Indiana is one of the three Japanese automakers in the state who employ approximately 9,500 people combined. [Image: Kurt Weber via creative commons]|
Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda and former governor of Indiana Mike Pence met on January 10 to discuss the expansion of the Toyota facility in Indiana. The Japanese automaker plans to invest $600 million to expand the facility and increase production, creating 400 more jobs in the Hoosier State.
Japan is Indiana’s number one source of Foreign Direct Investment. In 2012 there were 90 Japanese owned firms in Indiana supporting 42,000 jobs. Japan is also Indiana’s 3rd largest trading partner. Over a 10 year period Indiana’s exports to Japan rose 178%. Exports to Japan support an additional 14,500 jobs in the state.
Indiana is the only state to host 3 Japanese automakers; Toyota, Subaru and Honda. These automakers are not only beneficial to the economy; they also support people to people relationships. Since 1996 Toyota has donated $14 million to local community organizations. Subaru partners with the National Parks Foundation and has donated several cars, facilitated free public access to national parks, and donated $3 million dollars to the foundation. Subaru also participates in an Advanced Internship in Manufacturing Program (AIM) in Indiana which facilitates talented students to fast-track their careers through experience and specialized education. Honda in Indiana also contributes to the community through donations, food drives, and blood drives among other things. They additionally maintain the Hands on Honda volunteer program. All three automaker plants are ‘zero landfill’ facilities.
Indiana shares 13 sister city relationships with Japanese communities. It is home to 5,357 Japanese Americans and houses the Japan America Society of Indiana and the Indiana Japan Chamber Inc. On the centennial anniversary of the Cherry Blossom Festival in 2012, Japan gifted Indianapolis with 45 Cherry Blossom trees in honor of Japan-US friendship.
Tara Duane is a Research Intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a student at the University of Western Australia.