Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann spent the second day of her agricultural trade mission visiting Indiana’s Sister State, Tochigi Prefecture. Indiana and Tochigi established a Sister State relationship in 1999. Since then, representatives of the two states have had many exchanges and visits. Ellspermann and her delegation traveled from Tokyo to Tochigi Prefecture on the high-speed rail system commonly known as the “Bullet Train”. Upon arrival, the entire delegation was greeted at the Tochigi Prefecture International Affairs Division and was then transported to JET Farm in Ichikai, Tochigi. At JET Farm, Lt. Governor Ellspermann met with Norio Shinoda – the owner of the dairy farm – who gave her and the entire delegation an extensive tour of his facilities. JET Farm is one of the largest dairy and beef farms in Japan. In 2012, JET Farm shipped over 21,000 tons of milk and over 2,000 beef cattle.
After visiting JET Farm, Lt. Governor Ellspermann traveled to Utsunomiya, Tochigi where she met Tochigi governmental officials, including Governor Tomikazu Fukuda. In the meeting, they discussed how exciting it has been that Indiana and Tochigi have remained essential partners for 15 years, and how agriculture plays an important role for both Indiana and Tochigi. Both are recognized as agricultural leaders in their respective nations. Indiana is nationally ranked top 5 in duck production (1st), wooden office furniture (1st), tomato processing (2nd), chicken (3rd), soybeans (4th), corn (5th), and hogs (5th). Tochigi is Japan’s highest producer in strawberries and a national leader in milk, rice, and livestock production. Before the conclusion of the meeting, Governor Fukuda announced a potential major investment in Indiana by a Tochigi – based company.
In September 2013, Governor Pence and First Lady Karen Pence met with Governor Fukuda as part of their 2013 Japan visit. Ellspermann and her delegation will begin the second portion of the trade mission by traveling Thursday from Tokyo, Japan to Seoul, South Korea.