(NDAgConnection.com) – Gov. Doug Burgum Monday led a delegation of North Dakota officials and business representatives on the first day of a weeklong trade and investment mission to Japan, highlighting the state’s many trade, investment and business opportunities in a presentation to the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and promoting the state during a reception with Japanese businesses at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Tokyo.

In addition to Burgum, the 35-member trade delegation includes state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, leadership and staff from the North Dakota Trade Office, North Dakota Department of Commerce, Governor’s Office, Bank of North Dakota, North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota, and representatives from about a dozen North Dakota companies involved in agriculture, energy, manufacturing, technology and aerospace.

“Japan is an important trade partner for North Dakota and a key strategic ally for our nation. This trade and investment mission aims to strengthen that relationship and support our citizens by identifying new markets for North Dakota products and attracting investment and jobs to our state in a variety of sectors including agriculture, energy and technology,” Burgum said. “We are grateful to our Japanese hosts for the opportunity to share all that our state has to offer and work toward agreements that benefit all of our citizens.”

While Japan covers an area roughly the size of North Dakota and South Dakota combined, its population of 125 million people is 75 times larger than the total population of the two states. North Dakota’s exports to Japan totaled $40.1 million in 2021, making it one of the state’s Top 10 export markets. Japan was the fourth-largest U.S. export market in 2021 and the largest source of foreign direct investment in the U.S. in 2020, investing $679 billion and supporting over 973,800 jobs.

“Japan has been a longtime customer of several of our commodities, including high-quality spring wheat and food grade soybeans,” Goehring said. “We value the relationships we have built in Japan and look forward to future trade opportunities in this important market.”

In the evening, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel hosted the North Dakota delegation at the ambassador’s official residence in Tokyo for a reception with State Department officials and Japanese business representatives, providing more opportunities for networking and discussion about potential trade and investment opportunities with North Dakota and the United States.

The Burgum-Sanford administration has long worked to strengthen trade between North Dakota and Japan, including in July 2018 when Burgum met with industry leaders and high-ranking government officials from the U.S. and Japan at the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association’s 50th annual conference in Omaha, Neb., to promote trade and cooperation.

In August 2021, Burgum and Sanford, who chairs the North Dakota Trade Office Board of Directors, met with JETRO members visiting Bismarck to discuss opportunities and partnership for investment in North Dakota’s economy. Originally established in 1958, JETRO is a government-related organization that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world.