The Office of Mayor Karl Dean said Friday afternoon the mayor is traveling to Japan as a guest of the Japanese government to explore continued economic development opportunities between Nashville and the Asian nation.
Following the news Friday morning of the historic earthquake in Japan, the mayor conferred with Nashville-based Japan Consul General Hiroshi Sato before proceeding with the trip, which had been scheduled for several weeks and will extend through March 20. While the earthquake may require some changes to Dean’s itinerary, most of the cities the mayor plans to visit have not been heavily impacted by the disaster, the mayor’s office said.
During his visit, Dean will meet with representatives from several Japanese companies with a significant presence in the Nashville area, including Bridgestone, Nissan and Gibson Japan.
In addition, Dean will learn about mass transportation alternatives Japanese cities are undertaking. This could benefit the mayor’s work with the Middle Tennessee Mayors Caucus, the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee to implement a regional mass transit system in the Nashville area.
Also, Dean will visit Kamakura to work on increasing cultural and civic relations between that city and Nashville.
“Nashville is increasingly becoming an international city, and international companies play a significant role in our local economy — Japanese companies specifically,” Dean said in a release. “This visit solidifies our city’s relationship with the Office of the Consulate General of Japan that is located in Nashville and will hopefully allow me to bring back new ideas and new opportunities to our city as we continue to stay focused on economic development and job creation as a major priority.”
The Japanese government is covering the cost of the mayor’s trip.