Published: April 10, 2024 By ,

Japanese Consulate

On March 11, representatives from Japan and Colorado came together at the Japan-Colorado Business Seminar, presented by the Leeds School of Business in partnership with the Denver Consulate-General of Japan. Panelists and presenters discussed the strengthening economic ties between Japan and Colorado and how they are thriving.

Vijay Khatri, the Tandean Rustandy Endowed Dean of Leeds School of Business, shared that Japan is the seventh largest exporter to Colorado making up 4.3% of its total exports, and it is the 21st largest importer of Colorado goods. The substantial investment Japan has made in the U.S. makes its one of our strongest trading partners.

Chief Executive Director Akira Kajita of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) shared that there are currently 80+ Japanese companies operating in Colorado, supported by JETRO, which helps enable Japanese companies to expand their businesses in the U.S. by assisting with outreach and relationship-building.

Kajita shared, “JETRO LA has had an increased focus on bettering the ties between Japan and Colorado’s business communities…Just as Colorado businesses are making successful entries into Japan, the reciprocal is happening with Japanese companies here in Colorado.”

Brian Lewandowski, executive director of the Business Research Division and organizer of the seminar, pointed out that in planning the seminar, “we worked closely with the Deputy Consulate General, Isamu Azechi, to ensure that we had Japanese and American representatives on the panel. It was phenomenal hearing about Japanese companies doing business in Colorado, and Colorado companies doing business in Japan. Panelists shared stories about cultural experiences and economic opportunities.”

The discussion provided a great opportunity for community members to gain in-depth insight into international business relations in the state.

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"Just as Colorado businesses are making successful entries into Japan, the reciprocal is happening with Japanese companies here in Colorado."

Akira Kajita, chief executive director of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)

Business leaders on the panel included Elise Hamann, global business development manager in the office of economic development & international trade in Colorado; Jonathan Coors, CEO of CoorsTek; Keita Yasuda, vice president of strategic planning for Panasonic Smart Mobility; Gregory P. Hanes, CEO of Cattlemen’s Beef Board; and Takahiro “Taka” Fukuo, senior business development analyst of Terumo BCT.

Sharing their experiences working with both countries, the panelists pointed out the benefits that come from collaboration in large markets like the agriculture industry to the partnership on high-tech products like the Reveos Machine—a one-of-a-kind product created by Terumo BCT, a Japanese company that specializes in blood and cell technology and has based its global headquarters in Lakewood, CO for the past 56 years. Bringing together minds from different cultures and backgrounds, Terumo BCT created the Reveos to help the U.S. address its platelet shortage.

To learn more about the event, watch the recording here.