The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

EMBASSY | NEW YEAR

FEBRUARY 2015

2015 Special Menu: P Soup

By Andrew Wylegala

While the government of Japan is relaxing the “3Ps” governing arms exports, referring to three principles that forbid such exports under certain circumstances, the Commercial Service Japan (CS-J) is planning a menu for 2015 that centers on its own 3Ps to bolster US–Japan business: position, personnel, and programming.

Position: CS-J is increasing the number of staff in the Commercial Section of the Consulate General Osaka-Kobe from five to eight. This is partly a redeployment of resources from Tokyo, and also an element of the US government’s rebalance to Asia.

The eight-person team will: carry Japan-wide responsibility for key sectors such as automobiles and food processing equipment; redouble programming—including attracting US-bound investment—in the Kansai region; and spend more time on the road in outreach to the four US consulates where CS-J has no presence, as well as in untapped regions further afield.

Look up newly assigned Principal Commercial Officer Helen Hwang and her new CS Western Japan team early and often in 2015!

Personnel:
The SelectUSA program, which President Barack Obama launched in 2011 and for which Congress has recently increased funding by nearly 50 percent, will be expanded.

Shortly before the Japanese delegation to the March 22-24 SelectUSA summit departs for Washington, we expect to welcome three staff dedicated to attracting direct investment. Their next task will be staging a roadshow across Japan to encourage and assist more firms to consider the strongly rebounding US economy via direct investment.

Priority programs:
To concentrate our resources and leverage the vast opportunities presented by the tectonic shift in Japan’s energy panorama, in 2015 the embassy will again double down on policy and promotion work in this field.

In February, CS-J will assist a dozen Japanese buyers at San Diego’s DistribuTECH smart grid trade show, where at least an equal number of US exhibitors are awaiting one-on-one sessions to see how they can tap into Japan’s energy sector restructuring.

Department of Energy officials will also sit down with officials in Tokyo early this year at the sixth U.S.-Japan Clean Energy Policy Dialogue, a bilateral mechanism to coordinate programs on policy, energy technologies, market opportunities, and research and development.

This dialogue is preceded in February by the third U.S.-Japan Renewable Energy Policy Business Roundtable, a rare opportunity for a select group of US firms to inform official discussions with marketplace views, as well as to glean fresh policy directions in a very timely manner.

Rounding out the month at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition center is the world’s largest international B2B conference covering cutting-edge renewable/smart-energy products and technologies, World Smart Energy Week. We expect to see some of the same US firms in attendance that came to Japan with Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in late 2014.

March features the third Fukushima Forum, also taking place in Tokyo, aimed at facilitating more US involvement in remediation and decommissioning work in the Tohoku region, a prospect boosted by Japan’s formal accession to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, on January 16.

Finally, our annual New Orleans Association matchmaker event, which gathers all Japan utilities in Tokyo, rounds out our power-packed semester of energy promotional events.

Japan residents appreciate the importance of a balanced diet, and our menu of commercial activities will be both broad and diverse this year, reaching far beyond even the vast realm of energy to incorporate education, tourism, healthcare, and more.

Still more “Ps”—beginning with the TPP, or Trans-Pacific Partnership—may enter the mix, as well as some short-order cooking from increased opportunities under Abenomics reforms, to further spice up our P soup. Bon appétit from the CS-J kitchen.

Wylegala

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Andrew Wylegala is the minister counselor for commercial affairs at the Embassy of the United States Tokyo.

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