Governor Whitmer Leads First Economic Investment Mission to Japan to Bring Jobs and Supply Chains Home to Michigan

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer began a seven-day investment mission in Japan this week. During the trip, the governor is focused on securing investments in key industries like mobility, automotive and advanced manufacturing that will create good-paying jobs and bring critical supply chains back home to Michigan. This marks the first Michigan governor business visit to Japan since 2017.

“Michigan has a powerful story to tell as we compete to bring jobs and investment home,” said Governor Whitmer. “As a hub of high-tech innovation, we are embarking on an economic mission alongside business leaders to bring Michigan’s story to East Asia in the coming days. Our state is full of potential, from our hardworking people and our vibrant cities and towns to our entrepreneurial spirit and culture of innovation. Let’s unleash that potential so we can keep growing our economy and help anyone ‘make it’ right here in Michigan.”

This builds on Governor Whitmer’s previous work securing jobs and investments overseas. During her business trip to Norway in January, the governor secured Nel Hydrogen's investment of up to $400 million and creating more than 500 good-paying clean energy manufacturing jobs. While in France in June, the governor announced engineering services provider Expleo USA Inc. is establishing its first North American research and development facility in Michigan, which is expected to generate a total capital investment of more than $2 million and create 196 high-wage jobs, and build on Michigan’s global leadership in future mobility in vehicle electrification.

While in Japan, the governor will meet with company and government leaders to discuss investment opportunities and partnerships in global industries such as mobility and advanced manufacturing. The governor will also make stops at the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO) headquarters and the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association meeting in Tokyo, both of which will underscore why Michigan is the premier place for Japanese companies to do business and reaffirm the state’s deep ties with Japan.

During the investment mission, Governor Whitmer will also highlight the state of Michigan’s significant partnership with Shiga Prefecture, Michigan’s sister state, to celebrate the many shared partnerships, cultural values and institutions that have marked this relationship since it began in 1968.

Joining the governor will be Michigan Economic Development Corporation CEO Quentin L. Messer, Jr. and other MEDC officials; Michigan Economic Development Foundation Board members; and partners from local economic development organizations including Battle Creek Unlimited, Detroit Regional Partnership and Oakland County.

“Michigan has a long and fruitful relationship with Japan, including being the home of a Consular Office in Detroit. I am honored to join Governor Whitmer and Team Michigan’s entire delegation to deepen our partnership during this trip while creating new opportunities for our friends and neighbors back home,” Messer said. “While we have more work ahead to ensure anyone can see his/her/their future here in Michigan, this trip is a critical step in growing opportunities with Japanese businesses and citizens who have invested in our state for generations.”

The state of Michigan has a long and rich history with Japan, with more than 5,300 jobs being created in Michigan by Japanese businesses through more than $1.8 billion in private investment in the past ten years. According to the Japanese Consulate in Detroit, there are currently 456 Japanese facilities in Michigan which support more than 39,890 jobs in the state. A third of those jobs are direct manufacturing positions.

In a report from CNBC, Michigan was named one of three states in the running alongside Georgia and Kentucky that are poised to “dominate” electric vehicle battery manufacturing in the United States by 2030. Earlier this summer, Business Facilities named Michigan the No. 1 State in the Nation for both EV Industry Investment and Automotive Manufacturing.

Michigan is leading the charge to position the U.S. as a global electric vehicle competitor through this increased manufacturing capacity. Last year alone, the state attracted thousands of jobs and $14 billion in electric vehicle and battery investments while developing programs to train and employ the next generation of talent in the electric vehicle and mobility sector.  
The economic development mission is supported by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan Economic Development Foundation, an independent not-for-profit organization that serves to help promote and fund economic development efforts in Michigan that create private investments and increase jobs and wages.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.