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Two California cities on the rise

Japanese business has had a very soft spot for California. Aside from its mild climate all year long, the large West Coast state boasts excellent transport and logistics infrastructure, the largest Japanese expatriate community outside the country and long historical ties, as shown by the sizeable population of ethnic Japanese Americans.

With City of Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey (2nd from left) and local officials and business leaders

While Japanese companies in California continue set down their roots deeper in the United States, American government agencies and private groups engage in various projects to attract more Japanese operations to the state or help in expand existing ones.

In the 1980s, the city of Torrance set up an economic development team dedicated on just doing that. In addressing the issues of prospective investors, the team has succeeded securing investments from the consumer electronics, technology and automotive sectors.

Torrance also works very closely with several local partners, such as the chamber of commerce, community colleges, California Manufacturing Technology Consulting and the state governor.

And in creating an international business advisory council, the city’s mayor has displayed a commitment to international businesses.

“We open our doors to international businesses. It is about building relationships and being proactive in servicing these businesses. Toyota may be leaving but we still maintain a healthy and friendly relationship with them. Torrance is becoming the new ‘in’ spot in Southern California,” Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey.

With Tustin City Manager Jeffrey Parker (center)

Meanwhile, Tustin has launched an aggressive plan to attract more businesses to the city and persuade Japanese expatriates to stay. It acquired an immense parcel of land for housing and commercial development. The large green open spaces will also facilitate a healthier environment in which to live and work.

Simultaneous to improving its infrastructure, the city has reached out to Japanese and other foreign companies to promote the benefits of operating in Tustin. To ensure the city stays vibrant and safe, the mayor’s office also stays in close contact with residents to address their business and social needs.

Flanked by three major freeways, Tustin is among the most accessible cities in Orange County. It also has the lowest business license taxes in the county.

“We used to be a bedroom community. Now we are open for business and we want you to be part of this creative adventure. Our aggressive marketing efforts to attract the young, thought-provoking and new technology, and new concept service oriented businesses will definitely benefit the city in the long run. We believe these industries are where the future is headed,” said Tustin City Manager Jeffrey Parker.

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