Port of Moses Lake and Grant County EDC Attend Governor’s Trade Mission in Tokyo

Posted on Sep 30, 2015

Port of Moses Lake, EDC and Fuji Chemicals

From left to right: Mr. Hitoshi and President Nashida with Fuji Chemicals, Commissioner Kent Jones, Jeff Bishop, Richard Hanover with the Port of Moses Lake, Emily Braunwart and Andrea Bishop

Tokyo, Japan – Representatives from the Port of Moses Lake and the Grant County Economic Development Council traveled to Japan to join Governor Inslee’s trade mission and visit multiple Japanese Companies who have an interest in Grant County.

The delegates feel this was a very successful trip. They were able to meet and cultivate many new relationships and strengthen others. “We have a very strong relationship with Japan, and it shows with the current Japanese companies already in Moses Lake and the long lasting friendship with Yonezawa. This helped our community in so many ways since it expressed to the Japanese companies we met with that we are a good community to work with,” commented Emily Braunwart, Business Recruitment Manager for the EDC. 

The port and EDC were able to meet with two existing Grant County Japanese companies: Mitsubishi and Fuji Chemicals. Mitsubishi’s headquarters are in Nagoya, which is a two hour bullet train ride from Tokyo. There the delegation was given an update by top executives from the company and tour the facility where the MRJ is currently being assembled. Mitsubishi announced that the first flight of the MRJ is scheduled for next month and flight testing should start in the third quarter of 2016 at the Port of Moses Lake.

“It was very exciting to see the new plane in person. Mitsubishi even took a group photo of us in front of the jet with Governor Inslee.” Said Braunwart. “It was also great to see President Morimoto again; whom I was able to meet in early August when they visited the Port of Moses Lake.”

During the time the Moses Lake delegation spent with the governor, they also meet with Fuji Chemicals in their Tokyo offices where it was announced that AstaReal would be expanding in Moses Lake. In the next year the company will invest $30 million into the expansion and hire 50 new employees. Over the next 5-7 years they expect to continue their growth and investment in Moses Lake with an additional 100 jobs.

Moses Lake was also offered a chance to tour the Fuji Chemical’s headquarters in Toyama later in the week. After another two hour train ride they were treated to the afternoon in the scenic countryside. “We were treated so well,” said Braunwart, “All the employees came out to the front of the building to greet us. You could really tell they loved their company and loved the Moses Lake facility.”

This was Braunwart’s second trip to Japan, she was selected to be the Moses Lake-Yonezawa Sister City Exchange Chaperone. In the end of July, she accompanied three high school juniors as they experienced and learned about the Japanese Culture. “The first experience was invaluable,” Braunwart expressed “I was able to learn how to great people, say a few words in Japanese and have common experiences with the businesses I met while on the trade mission. Everyone was very excited to hear I attended the Fire Festival and wore a yukata while in Yonezawa. I was even able to share my photos with a couple of the businessmen!”