Seko sings praises of Japan automakers during U.S. visit

JIJI, Kyodo

Japanese companies are operating as members of U.S. society by investing and actively creating jobs, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko said Friday on his visit to the United States.

Seko was speaking to reporters after touring a Toyota Motor Corp. research and development facility near Detroit.

Noting that Toyota has both manufacturing bases and R&D footholds in the U.S., Seko said the auto industries of both countries were intertwined.

“The Japanese automotive industry has integrated fully into the U.S. auto industry,” Seko said.

Looking back on his past visits to the West Coast and the Midwest, he said, “I’ve communicated Japanese companies’ great contributions to the U.S. economy.”

Seko said additional tariffs on steel and aluminum imposed by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump have started affecting the automotive industry.

As for the new tariffs on automobiles and auto parts being considered by Washington, he said, “I want the Trump administration to heed the anxiety of people who are members of the U.S. economy.”

In June, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said in a report that Japanese automakers had directly hired 92,710 employees in the U.S. as of 2017, more than triple the 28,571 in 1990. It also said that cumulative investment amounted to $48.3 billion last year, up from $6.2 billion in 1990.