Japan JUMPs into Boise

Japan JUMPs into Boise

On July 23rd, JUMP hosted an event to help kick off the beginning of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. The Olympic opening ceremony was streamed on the “JUMPtron” while the public could experience different aspects of Japan’s culture. Over 4,000 people came to participate in various activities that were offered. Some of these activities and events include:

JUMP will continue streaming the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on the big screen during Boise’s warm summer evenings until August 2nd. 

A special thanks to all the volunteers, performers, Muffy Davis, Stacy Dragila, KTVB Idaho’s News Channel 7, the Consular Office of Japan in Portland, JUMP staff, and everyone who visited!

Posted by Idaho Business Council Admin in Event
Hundreds gather in Boise to stand in solidarity with Asian-Americans

Hundreds gather in Boise to stand in solidarity with Asian-Americans

BOISE, Idaho — Tuesday, March 23rd at 6:30 p.m. Several hundred people turned out in Boise to honor the lives lost in Atlanta, GA.  The vigil was held at Anne Frank Memorial in downtown Boise and also recognized victims of Asian hate crimes — crimes that have seen a 150% increase since the beginning of 2020. 

Speakers at the event include Representative Sue Chew, JACL board member Katie Hirai Niemann, Honorary Consul of Japan in Idaho Ed Klopfenstein, Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee, and Chinese youth speaker Elena Li.


Posted by Idaho Business Council Admin in Event
Message from Idaho State Senator Kelley Anthon

Message from Idaho State Senator Kelley Anthon

Idaho: “The Door to US Business” by Idaho Sen. Kelly Anthon

About Kelly Anthon: Senator Kelly Anthon is the Republican Party Leader for the Idaho House. He has many years of experience attracting business from Japan. In this talk, he discusses Idaho’s current trade situation and what makes Idaho attractive for business.

Idaho Facts

  • State population: Approximately 1.8 million
  • Area: Approximately 220,000 km.
  • State capital: Boise
  • Gross domestic product: Approximately 900 billion yen

Idaho Major Industry

Idaho, of course, is the largest potato producer in the United States, with Japan being its 5th export destination. 

Manufacturing IndustryFood, plastic, microchip, softwareFood, plastic, microchip, software

In Idaho, the food industry and large-scale manufacturing industry have been developing in recent years. The tourism industry, which makes the most of the rich nature, is also important.

Exports to Japan

The export value is about 20 billion yen — exports electrical and industrial products, food and agriculture, wood, paper, pulp, etc.

Imports from Japan

The import value is about 20 billion yen. Idaho imports electrical and industrial products, fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals, home, and outdoor products, wood, paper, pulp printing, etc.

Major Companies in Idaho

Hulett Packard, Micron, Albertsons (retail), Darigold (dairy), Agri Beef Co (livestock), Idaho Milk Products (dairy products), Cliff Bar & Company (nutrition bar, beverage), Chobani (yogurt dairy processing), McCain (frozen food, potato frozen processing), Glambia (sports nutrition, dairy products), Melaleuca (health food), Idaho National Laboratory (US Atomic Energy Research), Simplot (frozen food, potato frozen processing) ), Fabri-Kal (packaging), Scentsy (fragrance), etc.

Why invest in Idaho Now

The economic growth rate, employment growth rate per capita and work satisfaction (good living environment) are the highest in the United States. Boise has become one of the most populous cities in the United States in recent years, as it is becoming more popular as a travel and migration destination.

As a gateway to the western United States

Foreign direct investment is increasing due to the convenience of logistics and the state government’s business-friendly climate.

Logistical Advantages of Idaho

Advantage #1

Idaho is attractive as a gateway to the United States for Japanese businesses due to its low real estate prices and geographical advantage to the West Coast. The state will further strengthen its investment from overseas. 

Advantage #2

Several large, out-of-state markets are relatively close by, such as Portland, Oregon (890km or 1 driving day), Seattle, Washington (1,000km or 1.5 driving days), San Francisco, California (1,080km or 1.5 driving days). Within 13 hours of central Idaho, you can reach most major cities in the Western United States. 

If you’re looking for a location covering the entire Western United States with low-cost manufacturing capabilities and a well-developed transportation environment, Idaho makes financial sense as an industrial hub. Thanks to the history of potato transportation, the East Coast’s rail transportation route is also attractive.

Business Advantages

Idaho has a relatively small population, so it has the advantage that businesses can have close contact with government agencies. With the motto of supporting business, Idaho’s regulatory environment is one of the most flexible in the United States, with excellent tax rates and a robust system of subsidies that companies can tap. Two examples are the “Chance Fund” and “Trade Expansion Program”. 

Transcript of a speech by Idaho State Senator Kelley Anthon

First, I want to say “thank you” for the opportunity to visit with you today.

I very much appreciate the opportunity that I’ve been given by the Japanese government, particularly Consul General Shiga, out of the Portland, Oregon consular office, and the Honorary Consul General of Idaho, Ed Klopfenstein, who has helped facilitate this.

By way of self-introduction, my name is Kelly Anthon. I am an Idaho state senator. I’m also the majority leader of the Idaho State Senate, and I’m an attorney and businessman who’s had a considerable amount of interaction with Japan over the years. My focus in more recent years has been on economic development.

In the course of all those things, I’ve been allowed to work with some great Japanese companies, on behalf of the state of Idaho, to both help them build their business in the United States and to help build up my home state. So, this is a great opportunity for me to share a little bit about Idaho, what’s happening here, and why it may be a place where your particular company may be interested in as well.

First, let me tell you a little bit about Idaho. Idaho is, by all standards and certainly by Japanese standards, a rural state. It’s a huge state with a population of about 1.8 million people. The interesting thing about Idaho is that if I say to somebody, “do you know about Idahoshu karakimasu”? And they always say either “potato” or “jagaimo”, so they always know that when I say Idaho, I’m talking about potatoes.

There is certainly some truth to that. Idaho is the number one producer of famous potatoes in the United States. We have a substantial agricultural sector. We’re trying to share that just as the Idaho landscape is diverse, we also have a very diverse economy. What we’ve seen develop over recent years is the agricultural industry and a large manufacturing sector which is not just about foods but also about things like plastics, microchips, software, and so forth.

Of course, Japan and Idaho already have a great relationship. Japan is now Idaho’s fifth-largest market for some of our agricultural products. We also love to get Japanese tourism in Idaho as well.

The relationship that we have has grown in terms of imports and exports. For Japan exports, we send about $200 million worth of Idaho exports to Japan, and Japan sends us about the same amount back, about $166 million. Most recently, electronic and industrial components have become a major factor in Japan’s exports to Idaho. There’s something even more exciting that I want to share with you today besides the traditional relationship that Idaho and Japan have had, and that is that the diversity of the Idaho economy has also produced some great opportunities for Idaho and Japan. Let me tell you what’s exciting about Idaho.

Idaho’s economy is phenomenal right now. I hate to say this because I know there is so much trouble and so much suffering that has taken place with the pandemic and the COVID-19 outbreak, but the fact of the matter is that Idaho’s economy has weathered the pandemic better than any other state in the United States. Idaho’s economy, right now, is ranked number one as the fastest growing economy. We’ve been named the fastest, per capita, for job growth, and that includes top-rising wages.

Quality employees are so happy that word has gotten out. We are seeing more people move to Idaho than almost any other state. In recent years, Boise, Idaho’s capital, has been the number one growing city in the United States.

Why does it matter? And, what does it have to do with Japan?

Well, I think it is important because Idaho really can become the front door, or the gateway, of Japanese business into the Western United States and maybe into the United States, period. There are a few reasons why I say that: Idaho logistics, the business climate here, and Idaho’s increasing focus on foreign direct investment logistics.

Why logistics? Idaho is an interior state. Why is that so logistically important, and why would companies want to utilize Idaho from a logistics standpoint? From Idaho, if you think about it, if you have a manufacturing center in Idaho and drive 13 working hours in any direction from the state of Idaho, you arrive in a major metropolitan market of the United States. So, from central Idaho (whether it’s one day or two days by truck, it’s still a 13-hour working day), you can arrive in Los Angeles, Denver, Portland, Seattle, and so on. For those who want low-cost manufacturing in a stable rural environment with the infrastructure in place to get your products throughout the Western United States, Idaho is it.

Idaho is a great way to introduce your business cost-effectively and logistically to the Western United States. I will say “additionally” because of Idaho’s potato industry, we’ve also developed an incredible infrastructure for getting perishable food products to the East Coast as well, so, from Southern Idaho, you can get on a train with your product, and you can quickly reach the East Coast with a fresh potato.

Secondly, and maybe most importantly, is the business climate in Idaho. There’s a reason why Idaho is number one, and that’s because we are a rural state and a low population state. In Idaho, making connections is much easier between local government, state government, regional economic development agencies, and so forth. The ease of access to get to top government officials and get things done is almost unparalleled. For instance, a mayor from the southern part of the state can pick up the phone and reach the governor within moments. That helps us deal with red tape.

One of the things about Idaho and being ranked number one for business is that we’ve also been ranked number one for the least red tape. We are the least regulated state in the United States. The concept of having predictable, low-regulation is something that we have found really accelerates business growth. The former governor used to say that “the government should function at the speed of business.” The government should never be a hindrance to how fast a company wants to grow its business. That is the climate happening right now.

What’s interesting about rural areas, like Idaho, is that they are hungry for development. In the rural parts of the state, they are focused on agriculture. But, when you have an economy based solely on agriculture, you also have a real need to diversify that economy. So, there’s a great hunger in the rural areas, so to speak, for new business, new business diversification, and how to take the economy’s growth to the next level. You see that play out in the kind of available incentives for businesses, including foreign businesses. They come into Idaho and want to create jobs and grow their business. There are several grants, tax incentives, and urban renewal projects where we can help you pay for the things that you need to grow your business in the state of Idaho.

Also interesting for Japan is recent opportunities for foreign direct investment. The Idaho Department of Commerce, in the last five years, has begun a real focus on trying to attract foreign direct investment that has been facilitated in part by participation in an organization called “Select USA.” Select USA is an organization run by the US Department of Commerce. Through Select USA, we have met several Japanese companies that have grown to become great partners with the state of Idaho and different regions of the State of Idaho.

That excellent relationship certainly is buoyed up and supported by the Consul General’s office out of Portland. The Consul Generals have been excellent partners with the State of Idaho and have helped us facilitate several business opportunities. The ambassador to the United States, out of Washington DC, has also been an excellent resource. That relationship is established, growing, and deepening.

For those of you who are in Japan, I believe very firmly that you can reach out to your own government interests in the United States, and together we can work to make sure that you have success in the state of Idaho. The State of Idaho can become your first stopping place, your front door, so that you can expand your business throughout the Western United States and the United States period.

Business Example: The Hatsu Group

One example of that is the Hatsu Group. The Hatsu Group is, I believe, from the Hachioji area of Tokyo. They have developed an organization that is very successful in bringing small-to-medium Japanese firms to the United States. Interestingly, the founder, Mr. Suzuki, who is the lead at Hatsu, first brought his own business to the United States. It’s called Sakae Casting. His first stop was California, which made sense to him because he had some technology he was going to develop in the United States. He realized that the California bureaucracy and the red tape that we’ve talked about was such that they didn’t take much interest in Sakae for a small business.

Idaho’s economy is built on family businesses and small businesses, and so when he came to Idaho, there was a completely different environment. Many Japanese companies have seen and understood this difference. We are now dealing with many Japanese firms visiting recently, not just because of COVID, but because they see the State of Idaho helping to facilitate their business growth in the United States. We’re very excited about Japanese firms coming to Idaho, so let us work with you to bring your business interests to the United States.

IGEM: State Incentive Grant for Research

Another tool to help companies relocate to Idaho is the “Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission.” We call it “IGEM,” which is one of the opportunities that the Sakae Casting group actually took advantage of. IGEM is a program that encourages the research universities of Idaho to partner with Idaho companies, United States companies, and certain foreign companies to develop and commercialize new technologies. IGEM helps fund that research so you can spend your time focusing on growing your business and growing jobs in the United States. Sakae Casting was the recipient of one of these awards.  

The State of Idaho has within it the Idaho National Laboratory, which studies and develops nuclear technology, amongst other things. Sakae Casting conceptualized a new way to store nuclear waste that would be less risky. If commercialized, it would be very successful, we think. So in 2017, the company relocated to Idaho Falls, and we started partnering with the University of Idaho and Boise State University to work with Sakae Casting on a $237,000 plus dollar grant to develop the technology, which they won. Sakae’s work is ongoing in Idaho, but that’s just an example of the success that we’re seeing in Idaho. We want to see more opportunities like this.

As a Japanese firm’s first stop, we want to be seen the front door to the United States. If you’re considering business in Idaho, we certainly hope that you’ll work with the Consul General’s office, with my office, the Idaho Department of Commerce, and others to let us show you the opportunities in more detail. Let us work with you. We want to be a partner.

Thank you for this opportunity to share just a little bit about what’s happening in Idaho, what opportunities are available, and how we can be the front door for your business.

Thank you very much for your time.

Japanese Stories

日本企業に熱視線を送るアメリカの州たち 貿易問題もなんのその

Hatsu Japan

Idaho Stories

Japanese company visits Magic Valley for possible business expansion

Boise office opens to facilitate trade between Idaho, Japan 

Posted by Idaho Business Council Admin in Event