INDIANAPOLIS | While he hasn't finalized any deals that will create jobs for Hoosiers in the near-term, Gov. Mike Pence is confident the relationships he's developed on his Japan trade mission will pay off for Indiana in the long run.
"I am here ... to renew Indiana's relationship with Japan," Pence said to business and political officials in Tokyo. "We hope more and more Japanese firms will be able to leverage Indiana's favorable business environment, convenient location and strong workforce to grow and expand in the coming years."
Since arriving in Japan on Saturday, the first-year Republican governor and the 40-member Indiana delegation have mostly met with leaders of Japanese companies already doing business in Indiana -- including Subaru, which recently announced plans to expand its Lafayette auto manufacturing operations.
"Since my first day as governor, job creation has been job one," Pence said. "Japan is Indiana's largest foreign direct investor and there is immense opportunity to fortify relationships with Japanese companies and secure even more jobs for Hoosiers."
Pence also has visited Gov. Tomikazu Fukuda of Indiana's sister-state Tochigi prefecture, a region of some 2 million people whose capital, Utsunomiya, is about 60 miles north of Tokyo.
First lady Karen Pence shopped the Vera Bradley store in Tokyo's upscale Ginza district Tuesday to check out the Fort Wayne company's handbags and other items now available for purchase in Japan.
"My daughter Charlotte and I were thrilled to find this reminder of home here in Japan and see that love for this special brand really does cross cultures," she said.
The governor's trade mission is set to conclude Saturday.