UTSUNOMIYA, Japan — Two Japanese exchange students who spent the last school year
at Trine University got to briefly meet with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Sept. 9
while he was on a trade mission to Japan.
Mahoko Kuki and Yoshikazu Sakai are students at Utsunomiya University in Tochigi Prefecture,
Indiana’s sister state. Holcomb and a delegation from Indiana met with Tochigi Prefecture
Governor Tomikazu Fukuda along with government officials, business associations and
Japanese company executives.
“We just talked about wonderful experiences we had at Trine,” said Kuki.
Indiana and Tochigi have had an economic and cultural partnership since 1999. Tochigi
Prefecture supports one of Indiana-based Cummins' global operations and is also home
to the headquarters of Fukai Mfg. Co., Ltd., which established manufacturing operations
in Jamestown, Indiana, in 2014.
"Japan is Indiana's largest foreign direct investor, and I look forward to working
with Japan and Japanese companies to take this mutually beneficial relationship to
the next level,” Holcomb said.
The partnership also allows Trine to offer a summer study abroad program each June
with Hakuoh University in Tochigi.
Following the meeting, Gov. Holcomb and Gov. Fukuda engaged in a basketball free-throw
contest and visited Nikko Toshogu – a world heritage site and resting place of one
of Japan's most famous Shoguns, Iieyasu Tokugawa – to learn more about the history
and culture of Tochigi Prefecture.
Photo: From left, Yoshikazu Sakai, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Mahoko Kuki.