The fourth-largest source of foreign direct investment in Texas, Japan has accounted for for more than 200 investments and projects over the last decade. This year marks a milestone in relations between the two sides as the Japan America Society of Houston celebrates its 50th anniversary and U.S.-Japan Council holds the first Japan-Texas summit in the same city in May.
The Japan Times, in partnership with Global Media Inc., is set to publish a Special Report on Texas in July. Tentatively headlined “Thriving through Trade,” the special report will explore how and why Japanese presence has increased significantly in the state and the personalities behind this growth. It will also highlight the best of Texas to potential Japanese partners.
If it were a separate country, Texas would be the world’s 10th largest economy, overshadowing that of even Russia. The U.S. state’s economic heart lies in an area called the “Texas Triangle,” a corridor that connects the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and capital Austin. Collectively, the Texas Triangle generates an economy second only to New York.
It is no surprise that Japanese companies in the United States consider Texas as a very important location not only as a market but also as a production and administrative base. According to the Dallas Regional Chamber's latest data, more than 170 Japanese-owned companies established their United States or North American headquarters in the region.
“Each year, the business environment is becoming better and better for Japanese companies and their employees in Texas. The social infrastructure in place also caters to Japanese expats. These include Japanese markets, like Mitsuwa, and Japanese schools with teachers authorized by Japan’s Ministry of Education. This social infrastructure means the DFW Area has the basic infrastructure for Japanese living,” said NEC Corporation of America Chairman Shin Takahashi, who is also a resident of the DFW area.
Takahashi added: “For starters, the zero-percent state and local income tax has drawn large corporations to relocate to Texas.”
Aside from the tax incentives and the state’s pro-business environment, Japanese companies have also been attracted by the extensive talent pipeline in Texas that is very helpful in sustaining their long-term business.
“Dallas area has a lot of good talent because it is the site of top-notch universities and research centers,” Takahashi said.
“Texas is at the center of a new era of Japanese-U.S. business relationship. My Japanese colleagues joke about how I was responsible in bringing more ramen restaurants to Dallas. The fact is that Dallas did a lot of things right in attracting Japanese businesses to this community. And, NEC America has both contributed to the growth of the community, and has benefited from it,” Takahashi added.