Seated (from left): Suzanne Sterling, vice president for international affairs, California Chamber of Commerce; Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis; Darlene Kuba, president of Kuba & Associates. Standing (from left): Glen S. Fukushima, vice board chair, Securities Investor Protection Corporation; Dr. Markos Kounalakis; Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi.

Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis and Dee Dee Myers, director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, led a California trade mission from March 12 to 18 to Japan to promote and strengthen the relationship between Japan and California businesses and government entities. 

Participating in this trade mission were a delegation of California leaders – policymakers, business executives, and key decision-makers. The trade mission focused on climate change, clean energy, agriculture, new investments, and trade opportunities between California and Japan. The primary goal was to enhance current opportunities and find new ones to work together to build a sustainable future for all. 

A hundred leaders from diverse sectors of government, commerce and business participated in this mission. Kounalakis, Meyers and members of the delegation met with officials and business leaders in key industries to discuss and promote the mission’s goals and objectives. They also met with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, who expressed his strong support for the mission.

Japan is California’s fourth-largest export partner. California exports totaled $11.607 billion in 2022, representing a 1.6% decrease from 2021. Imports into California from Japan were $29.367 billion in 2022, representing a 31.21% increase from 2021.

The trade mission built upon the Memorandum of Cooperation signed between Gov. Gavin Newsom and Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Koji Tomita in March 2022 to tackle climate change and strengthen trade relations.

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