Indiana Governor Mike Pence ribbon cutting. Photo by: Japan America Society of Indiana

Special Report: Japan Matters for Indiana - A Collaboration of the East West Center and Japan America Society of Indiana


On February 27, 2013, experts on the US-Japan relationship and leaders in the Indiana-Japan community will gather in Indianapolis for the annual Japan Update Symposium. This year’s program, “Indiana, Asia, and the Globe in 2013,” is presented by the Japan America Society of Indiana and the National Association of Japan America Societies with support from the Sasakawa Peace Foundation and corporate sponsors in both countries. Following keynote speakers such as former US Senator for Indiana, Richard Lugar, and NHK senior commentator Aiko Doden, East-West Center in Washington director, Dr. Satu Limaye, will introduce the Japan Matters for America project to the Hoosier State.

Japan’s importance to Indiana is not a new notion to the businesses and communities across the Midwestern state. Japan and Indiana have cultivated strong linkages in diverse areas from investment to Indy Racing and beyond. Below are a few highlights from the “Japan Matters for America: Indiana-Japan Connections” [pdf] report compiled by Asia Matters for America with support from the Japan America Society of Indiana.

Trade and Investment

  • Indiana exported over $1.75 billion in merchandise to Japan in 2012. Over the past decade, Indiana’s exports to Japan rose 178%.
  • Japan is Indiana’s 3rd largest buyer of agricultural products (after Canada and China). In 2011 Japan imported USD $393 million in agricultural goods from Indiana. Top products include feed corn, soybeans, livestock and dairy products.
  • Indiana ranks 3rd in the nation in employment from Japanese Foreign Direct Investment, more than twice the national average. Japanese FDI provided 35,800 jobs to the state.
  • The Hoosier state is a major hub for automobile manufacturing and the only state to host three Japanese automakers (Subaru since 1986, Toyota since 1996, and Honda since 2008).

Students and Education

  • Indiana welcomed 260 university students from Japan in the 2011/2012 academic year, unchanged from the previous year, despite the March 11, 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami.
  • Twelve of Indiana’s universities and colleges maintain exchanges and partnerships with 23 Japanese universities in 12 prefectures. In the 2010/2011 academic year, 111 university students from Indiana studied abroad in Japan, placing the state 11th in the country.
  • Japanese is taught in high schools across Indiana. Students can study the Japanese language at 32 schools in 25 cities; most of which offer four years of instruction, with some offering AP and Honors courses

Sister Cities and Exchanges

  • Indianapolis was selected as one 36 US cities for the centennial gift of cherry blossom trees from the government of Japan in 2012. This rendering from Litchfield Landscaping shows how the trees will be planted along White River State Park. Image by: Japan America Society of IndianaThe State of Indiana and Tochigi Prefecture became Sister States in 1999. They share a common bond in stock car racing. Indiana is home of the famous Indy 500, and Motegi, Tochigi is home of a track that was also part of the Indy Car Series. Indiana has 13 sister city relationships with communities in Japan.
  • Indiana has hosted a number of US-Japan conferences that rotate throughout both countries annually. It hosted the Midwest US-Japan Association Conference in 1989 and 2003, the 2010 Japan-America Grassroots Summit, as well as the Japan America Student Conference at Earlham College in 2010.

Click here to read the full report: “Japan Matters for America: Indiana-Japan Connections” [pdf]