Governor travels to Japan, South Korea to create jobs for Kansans


Governor Laura Kelly poses for a photo with the leadership of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) on a recent trip to Japan and South Korea for the U.S.-Japan Association Conference.

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 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,” said Ambassador Rahm Emanuel. “When I see a state like Kansas making such significant strides in global economic partnerships, it showcases the importance of collaboration, vision and innovation.”

Governor Laura Kelly poses for a photo with Panasonic’s CEO on a recent trip to Japan for the U.S.-Japan Association Conference.

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 at 

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 at

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 at

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