Governor Kelly Travels to Japan, South Korea
to Create More Jobs for Kansans

– This week, Governor Laura Kelly traveled to Japan and South Korea to participate in the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association (MWJA/JMWA) Conference. While there, she met with business leaders to continue building on Kansas’ historic economic development success and create new job opportunities for Kansas workers. 

“The relationships we’ve established with Japanese and Korean companies like Panasonic, Marubeni, and CJ CheilJedang have been instrumental in the $17.4 billion in private investments made into the state since I took office,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “By strengthening those relationships and building new ones, we continue spurring economic development success and delivering on our mission to make Kansas the best state to live, work, and raise a family.” 

While in Japan, Governor Kelly delivered keynote remarks at the MWJA/JMWA conference and, alongside a bipartisan group of Midwest governors, met with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel to discuss economic development opportunities.  

“Governor Kelly’s commitment to strengthening ties with Japan and South Korea is exactly the kind of forward-thinking leadership needed for trilateral cooperation. These partnerships aren’t just about business; they’re about building a brighter future for Kansans,” Ambassador Rahm Emanuel said. “When I see a state like Kansas making such significant strides in global economic partnerships, it showcases the importance of collaboration, vision, and innovation.” 

In Kyoto, Governor Kelly met with Panasonic Energy leadership. In July 2022, Governor Kelly announced Panasonic would be building one of the largest electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturing plants in the United States in De Soto. The $4 billion investment is expected to create up to 4,000 new jobs, which represents the largest economic development project in Kansas history.Learn more about Panasonic’s historic investment here. 

In Tokyo, Governor Kelly toured the Marubeni Corporation headquarters. Marubeni acquired Arkansas City’s Creekstone Farms Premium Beef LLC in 2017. Since then, the company has invested $35 million in facility improvements, including a refrigerated distribution center and 20,000 square-foot child care facility that is now under construction. In 2020, Creekstone Farms was awarded the Governor’s Exporter of the Year Award. Governor Kelly toured the plant in June 2021. Learn more about Creekstone Farms and Marubeni here

Governor Kelly ended her trip in South Korea, where she visited CJ CheilJedang (CJCJ) headquarters. CJCJ became the parent company of Schwan’s in 2019 and constructed the world’s largest frozen pizza manufacturing plant in Salina, creating 225 new jobs. Its $600 million investment resulted in a new manufacturing plant that opened in May 2023 and a food distribution center that is expected to be completed in early 2025. Learn more about CJCJ’s investment in Schwan’s here

Photos from the trip are available for media use: