Governor Mike Pence spent the fifth day of his jobs trip to Japan on the road thanking Indiana's current customers for their investments in Indiana.
Pence traveled northwest of Tokyo by train to Ota, Lafayette's sister city, to visit the headquarters of Subaru, the automotive division of Fuji Heavy Industries.
"Thousands of hardworking Hoosiers have jobs today because of Subaru's commitment to Indiana," said Pence. "On this trade mission, I've made it a top priority to personally thank Japanese companies for choosing Indiana out of a world of options. With our favorable business environment and a workforce highly skilled in advanced manufacturing, Subaru executives have noticed that Indiana is a state that works for business."
In Ota, the governor toured Subaru's facilities and joined its leadership for lunch where the group discussed its recently announced hiring plans. In May, Subaru of Indiana (SIA) announced plans to invest $450 million to build the Impreza at its Lafayette plant, creating up to 900 new jobs by the end of 2016.
Subaru has two assembly plant locations: Ota City, Japan, and SIA in Lafayette. SIA's entire 832-acre Lafayette site has been designated a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. SIA, which employs more than 3,600 associates in Lafayette, operates the country's first zero-landfill automobile factory. Ninety-nine percent of the waste from the plant is recycled while the remaining one percent is converted into electricity.
During the afternoon, the governor met with executives from TOA Industries, which has a manufacturing facility in Mooresville, and Shigeru Co., Ltd., the parent company of Heartland Automotive based in Greencastle and Lafayette. Shigeru's Greencastle location was established in 1987 to manufacture dashboards for Subaru and has grown to also include production for the Camry line at SIA. Shigeru executives and Pence discussed expansion plans the company is expected to announce in the near future that could create hundreds of new jobs for Hoosiers at its Lafayette facility.
To commemorate Shigeru's 26 years of Hoosier roots, Pence planted a tree next to a tulip poplar, Indiana's state tree that former Governor Robert Orr planted in 1987 on the company's Ota campus. The black pine, Gunma Prefecture's state tree, planted by Pence reaffirms Indiana's long-term, growing relationship with the company.
"Today we planted a symbolic tree at Shigeru, a company with rich Hoosier heritage dating more than 25 years," said Pence. "The tree represents the strength of Indiana's deep relationship with this company, a bond that has created hundreds of good jobs for Hoosiers. Just like this tree will grow, we are committed to continuing to cultivate and grow our strong friendship and economic ties with Shigeru in the years ahead."
A photo of the Governor planting a tree at Shigeru can be found attached, and video from his stop at Subaru is accessible on the Day 5 page at http://www.in.gov/gov/Japan2013.htm. Additional photos will be added to the web page later today.