MARCH 17, 2004 - Posted at 10:42 a.m. CDT
JAPAN - Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee spent much of Tuesday and part of today meeting with the corporate executives of Japanese-based companies that do business in Region 8.
Huckabee is in the Orient as part of a corporate goodwill tour.
The governor was in Himeji City this morning, meeting with officials of the Yamato Kogyo Corporation. Yamato Kogyo is a joint venture investment partner with Nucor Steel near Blytheville, where steel beams are produced. Nucor-Yamato employs almost 800 people. The plant was established in 1987.
Huckabee spent Tuesday meeting with officials from three different companies, including the Denso Corporation, which last July announced it will construct a 217,000-square-foot facility at Osceola that will employ nearly 500 people. The company is investing nearly $35 million in northeast Arkansas to produce air conditioners for cars and radiators for heavy construction equipment. "It was a great honor to be able to meet with Denso executives," Huckabee said. "Denso is one of the top corporations in the world. Landing the Osceola plant was proof that we can compete at the highest levels in the area of economic development."
The governor also met yesterday with executives of Sakae Riken Kogyo, which is building a manufacturing facility at Wynne to produce exterior parts for automobiles. Production is expected to begin in March of 2005 with an eventual workforce of 250 people. "The South is the leading beneficiary of the growth of the automotive and auto parts industries. Arkansas is becoming a major player in this process," said Huckabee.