Youngkin’s Japan Mission: Forging Long-Term Supply Chains with ‘Friends’

by Joshua Brown
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Glenn Youngkin, the Governor of Virginia, is in Japan to encourage chip makers from Japanese to invest in his state. He wants to build strong “supply chain relationships” with countries like the US and its allies so they don’t need rely on China for supplies. This trip is part of a bigger Asia tour he’s taking before possibly running for President 2024. After visiting Taiwan, he’ll be traveling to South Korea too.

“We want to work with nations to create a partnership on which both of us can depend and where we can benefit from each other. In today’s world, it is really important for us to do more things with our friends,” said the speaker at the press conference alongside representatives of Micron and the American Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel.

Later in the day, some people from Virginia planned to meet with executives from Japan. They wanted to get more companies that make computers chips (called “semiconductors”) to move to their state.

Micron, a big semiconductor maker, is building an $3 billion dollar factory for making computer chips in Manassas, Virginia. It also has a factory in Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s hometown of Hiroshima and is the most successful foreign company investing in Japan according to Micron’s Bhatia.

Governor Youngkin has started to take a stricter stance against China. In January, he cancelled a plan where Virginia would create a huge plant for making electric vehicle batteries. This project was between Ford Motor Co. and a Chinese business partner, who chose instead to set up their plant in Michigan. The Governor thought this project might be connected to the Chinese Communist Party, which could cause security problems.

The Virginia state governor, Youngkin said that there are more than 130 Japanese businesses living in this place. He wants to create new relationships which will be especially helpful for creating supplies of computer chips and other important items like that, ensuring they have good partners. Vice President Kamala Harris also spoke with some Japanese electronic firms during her trip in September.

Emanuel said he hopes that today’s meeting will help the people of Virginia and make our two nations, as well as our security, stronger. He also met with leaders from other areas like drug companies and car factories.

The Governor, who used to be the leader of an important company called Carlyle Group, wouldn’t directly answer whether he is running for president or not. He only said that his main job right now is trying to make sure there would be good business connections between Virginia and other countries.

Some American politicians want to get investments and understand foreign policy better so they often choose East Asia as their destination.

Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida, recently visited Japan to meet with the Prime Minister (Fumio Kishida) as part of a four-nation trade mission. This is seen as an attempt by Ron DeSantis, who’s expected to run for President in the future, to make his diplomatic profile better.

Emanuel noticed that in the last year, lots of U.S. governors traveled to Japan to try and get money for their states and develop a better relationship with those places after COVID-19 made things tough. Going on these trips can help make sure your state is prepared so you don’t find yourself in any surprise situations.

Leaders from different political parties traveled to their allied countries recently, and this was part of a plan created by the Biden government. The main purpose of these visits is to create stronger connections between these countries and to reduce how often people rely on China for supplies.

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