Consulate-General of Japan in Houston


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Consul General's News Letter From Houston

Remarks by Consul-General Jota Yamamoto
on the occasion of ribbon-cutting ceremony
at Toshiba International Corporation’s Hybrid Electric Vehicle Plant in Houston,
on February 23, 2012


February 23, 2012

I thank President & Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Tatsuo Doko to invite me to this commemorative occasion, and I congratulate you and your staff of Toshiba International Corporation.  It is my honor to be present here to celebrate this ribbon-cutting ceremony together with you all, in particular Mr. Yasunobu Eimoto, Executive Vice President of Social Infrastructure System Company and other distinguished executives of the entire Toshiba, who joined us all the way from Japan.  Most welcome to Houston.

In December last year, I organized at my residence a kind of exhibit of Japan`s advanced technologies. Toshiba was very kind to join it with a multi-faced demonstration, as it engages in the wide-ranging activities. 

The exhibit first touched upon hybrid locomotives and other earth-friendly train technologies.  As the question of how to expand or diversify railway networks is going to be more important and imminent in Texas, this agenda of Toshiba will shortly be much more pertinent to the people of Texas, too.

Then, we were shown its inspired electronics of LEDs, Light Emission Diodes. They are fitting to the households and also to spacious facilities requiring the perfect illumination and cost performance at the same time.   

You can therefore see many Toshiba LEDs in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, which by the way opened its Arts of Japan Gallery last week.  Indeed, Toshiba made perfect the elegance of this Gallery, not only with its huge donation but also with its LED technologies.

Another project was envisaged on the electric motors for hybrid vehicles of the higher performance and cost efficiency, which has now entered into production.  That the electric and automotive giants, Toshiba and Ford, teamed up for hybrid-vehicle production  speaks volumes to a positive prospect towards the expanded market for green-technology vehicles, now with a new supply center in Houston. 

Dear Colleagues,

Thanks to the reassuring business environment and enormous communal support, many Japanese companies are now planning to expand their facilities in Texas or shift those from elsewhere into Texas.  Here in Houston, we have the Japan Business Association in Houston, JBAH, which includes as many as 86 big names and is the very engine to facilitate business opportunities. 

We have a trade and investment representative, the Japan External Trade Organization, JETRO Houston, which facilitates public-private collaboration.  In fact,  the Chief of JETRO Houston and I, in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin, co-hosted a business seminar in Austin yesterday and we witnessed a vivid discussion.  It is quite clear that the team of Japanese companies and organizations have integrated towards fostering a dynamic business interaction between Japan and Texas.

Such enhanced business activities will surely benefit the local communities with offers of more employment.  This new line of Toshiba has already created jobs for 60 people, and the number will be increasing in a few years.  Actually, today`s celebration is not an isolated example, rather, it may be followed by another company in another sector very shortly.   The combined effect of  the many projects to follow will be enormous. 

To ensure optimum benefits both to the management and the local communities, it is worth discussing, for instance, how to secure the constant recruitment of skilled operators, as they are essential for advanced production lines. 

More business will surely give us more agenda.  Yet, as we all celebrate this occasion and congratulate Toshiba, we can always work together to address any challenges.  That is possible in Texas;  that is why we all are so lucky.