Japanese companies are once again on the prowl for manufacturing sites in the United States, especially in North Carolina and other southeastern states, according to the Atlanta-based General Consul for Japan.
The declining cost of energy in the U.S. is among the factors attracting renewed interest from Japanese manufacturers, said Kazuo Sunaga, who provides support to Japanese companies and people in North Carolina and four other southern states. Sunaga met with editors and reporters at The News & Observer last week during his first visit to North Carolina.
Labor costs and government incentives are also important to Japanese manufacturers, Sunaga said.
Japanese manufacturers are looking at sites in Mexico, too, where labor costs are lower but energy costs are higher, and in Asia as well.
“I am now saying to the Japanese businessman … if you take into account the labor costs and energy costs, and the cultural benefits and political stability and democracy here, I think the U.S., particularly in the South, is the best place to invest,” he said.
North Carolina stacks up well against other southeastern states, Sunaga said.
Japanese companies are well-acquainted with North Carolina. As of 2012, the state boasted 326 Japanese companies that employ 22,235 workers, including transmission maker AW North Carolina and pharmaceutical company Eisai in the Triangle.