I congratulate the Central Kentucky Japanese School on its 20th anniversary. The school not only represents a valuable resource for enriching the lives of many of the Japanese children living in the Central Kentucky area, but also provides the region with a tremendous economic development tool as well.
As Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, it is my job to create jobs and opportunities for the citizens of the Commonwealth. This is accomplished by attracting new companies from around the world, as well as helping existing Kentucky companies expand operations within the state.
Having served as Secretary for 13 years and previously working in the real estate development business, I have had the opportunity to travel to Japan more than 30 times to recruit business to the state. Through these travels, I’ve had the privilege of meeting with executives of many of Japan’s most prestigious companies, many of with whom I’ve developed strong friendships over the years.
These executives and other decision makers have shared with me the many factors taken into account when considering where to locate a new business venture. A central location to customers, a good transportation system for delivering products to end users, a productive workforce, and a low cost of doing business are just some of the criteria evaluated.
Also making the list of important factors in the site selection process is quality of life, which includes having attractive communities with abundant recreational, cultural, and educational opportunities. These executives realize the location they choose not only has to be business friendly, but family friendly as well.
Kentucky has had tremendous success over the last few decades in attracting industry from Japan, by cultivating a well-rounded business climate that recognizes the importance of supporting our international businesses on all levels. Currently, Kentucky is home to nearly 350 international companies, employing more than 71,000 Kentuckians. Of these companies, 143 are Japanese-owned and represent over half of that employment figure with more than 37,000 employees.
We continue to nurture these partnerships every day and the Central Kentucky Japanese School in Lexington gives Kentucky an even stronger leg to stand on as we compete in a global business climate. I am honored to commemorate this milestone and wish CKJS many more years of success.
Marvin E. Strong, Jr.
Former Secretary of Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development