In July, representatives from United Planet traveled from Boston to Japan’s Aichi Prefecture — a manufacturing center and home to corporate giants such as Toyota — to meet with the Governor and make a presentation to parliamentary assembly members. David Santulli, United Planet’s Founder and Executive Director, and Chie Goto United Planet Japan’s Executive Director, met with Governor Omura, presented about opportunities in Massachusetts, and met with City Councilors of Nagoya, Japan’s fourth largest city.
United Planet has deep roots and long connections in Japan. In recent months, we’ve been working closely to establish new programs for international volunteers in Nagoya, and in the areas most affected by the earthquake and tsunami.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity to create a lasting bridge between the U.S. and Japan,” said Santulli. “Together, we can develop new levels of innovation and collaboration within critical sectors, and forge deeper bonds of mutual understanding and friendship.”
United Planet and Santulli received generous support from various people and organizations in Massachusetts, including: the Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment; Boston World Partnership (Executive Director Yoon J. Lee and Chair Mark Maloney); and Barry Dym, PhD, Executive Director of the Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership at Boston University’s School of Management. With the help of these key supporters, Mr. Santulli set out to build governmental, business, academic, and civil society ties between Massachusetts (especially the cities of Boston, Cambridge, and Springfield), and the Aichi Prefecture and city of Nagoya.
In meetings over the course of several weeks, Santulli introduced the most attractive and international features of Massachusetts: key innovation industries of tomorrow (such as life sciences, clean energy, and information technology); elite universities, research centers, financial institutions, and healthcare providers; as well as one of the most highly skilled and educated workforces in the world.
Although the Japanese economy is struggling to recover from the recent natural disasters (and the worldwide recession), Governor Omura and the Aichi Prefecture Assembly members acknowledged the importance in investing in the development of long-term international relationships to take advantage of flourishing opportunities for innovation, market expansion, and collaboration. The governmental officials of Japan were especially pleased with the new direct air route between Tokyo and Boston provided by Japan Airlines (JAL).
In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, and the ensuing nuclear disaster, the Aichi Prefecture officials expressed a particular interest in pursuing clean energy relationships with Massachusetts research institutions, universities, and companies.
Governor Omura, representing Aichi Prefecture’s 8 million people and Japan’s primary manufacturing hub (the world’s fifth largest economy when combined with neighboring Osaka), along with Aichi Prefecture parliamentary members, would like to arrange a visit to Massachusetts in early 2012 to meet government, business, academic, and civil society counterparts.
United Planet Japan will continue to assist the Aichi Prefecture in building global understanding and relationships. With global headquarters in Boston’s Back Bay, United Planet looks forward to working with other local organizations — such as MOITI and Boston World Partnerships — to bring the world to Boston and Massachusetts, and Boston and Massachusetts to the world.