Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith has named Tony Suzuki director of the state's Japan office in Tokyo. He previously spent nearly 30 years with Japan-based trading company Marubeni Corp. and served in leadership roles with Precision Tools Service in Columbus and the Indianapolis Marubeni Plant Contractor location. He will succeed Yasuhiko Kano, who is retiring at the end of next month. The state also has international offices in Europe, Taiwan and China.
May 23, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Toshikazu “Tony” Suzuki, a former Japanese trading company executive with Hoosier ties, will serve as the director of the state of Indiana's Japan office in Tokyo.
“Not only does Tony have experience in the world of Japanese business relations, but he is also an honorary Hoosier who has lived and worked in Indiana for decades,” said Victor Smith, Indiana Secretary of Commerce. “He knows what Japanese business executives are looking for in Indiana because he has been in their shoes, leading a major Japanese company’s decision to locate here earlier in his career. We welcome him as a valued member of our Indiana team, working to continue to foster a deep bond between Indiana and our Japanese friends.”
As the newest addition to the state's economic development team, Suzuki brings more than 40 years of executive and senior management experience working in both Japan and the United States, including first-hand expertise promoting and executing Japanese direct investment projects in Indiana. Suzuki, whose new duties are effective immediately, replaces Yasuhiko Kano, who is retiring at the end of June, after representing the state in Japan since 2010.
“Mr. Kano has been a pivotal player in strengthening Indiana's ties with Japan,” said Smith. “Under his leadership, our Japanese office has helped spark a domino effect of Japan-based companies choosing Indiana for their investment. Indiana's unemployment rate is on a record decline, in part because of Mr. Kano's devoted pursuit of Japanese investment in the state. Yasuhiko's legacy will be visible for generations to come across our state, and for that we are grateful.”
A graduate of Sophia University in Tokyo, Suzuki joined Marubeni Corp., one of Japan's largest trading houses, in 1974 and became Marubeni's representative in Indianapolis in 1986, spearheading the company's construction projects in Goshen, Ind. Following his 28 year-career at Marubeni, Suzuki served as executive vice president at Precision Tools Service in Columbus, Ind., where he oversaw a joint venture with Toyo Corp. in tools, parts and equipment distribution. He also established Marubeni Plant Contractor located in Indianapolis. In addition, Suzuki has held various executive positions at Lotte, a multinational food and shopping conglomerate with headquarters in Japan and South Korea, and most recently oversaw facilities management and digital marketing at Toho Chofu Sports Park in Tokyo.
“I am honored to be given the opportunity to put my skills to work for the people of Indiana,” said Suzuki. “Indiana offers the perfect environment for business growth, with Japan and Indiana sharing many common values, in particular a common work ethic. Indiana's bond with Japan is already strong, and I look forward to continuing and deepening this connection, helping companies find the resources they need to succeed in Indiana.”
Established more than 30 years ago, the state of Indiana's Japan office has played an integral role in attracting new investment from Japan. Since 2005, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has secured projects with nearly 90 Japan-based companies, projecting to create more than 10,200 new jobs and invest more than $3.4 billion in their Indiana operations. In his new role, one of Suzuki’s first tasks will be to move the state office from Nagoya to Tokyo; this transition is expected to be complete by the end of June.
Indiana, which leads the nation in Japanese investment per capita, counts Japan as its largest Asian trading partner. Nearly 44,000 Hoosiers are employed by more than 240 Japanese companies located across the state. Indiana is the only U.S. state that is home to three Japanese original equipment manufacturer automotive companies, Subaru, Toyota and Honda.
Today's announcement comes on the heels of Governor Mike Pence's inaugural jobs and economic development mission to Japan last year. While in Japan, the governor led more than 20 meetings with top Japanese companies, including meetings with the presidents and chief executive officers of Toyota Motor Corp., Honda and Fuji Heavy Industries, parent company of Lafayette-based Subaru of Indiana Automotive.
Pence welcomed Suzuki to his new position at the Japan-America Society of Indiana's annual gala yesterday. The gala was attended by Pence, Ambassador of Japan to the United States Kenichiro Sasae and more than 200 executives from Japanese companies across the state.
Created in 2005 to replace the former Department of Commerce, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is governed by a 12-member board chaired by Governor Mike Pence. Victor Smith serves as the Indiana Secretary of Commerce and Eric Doden is the president of the IEDC.
The IEDC oversees programs enacted by the General Assembly including tax credits, workforce training grants and public infrastructure assistance. All tax credits are performance-based. Therefore, companies must first invest in Indiana through job creation or capital investment before incentives are paid. A company who does not meet its full projections only receives a percentage of the incentives proportional to its actual investment. For more information about IEDC, visit www.iedc.in.gov.
Source: The Indiana Economic Development Corp.