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The State of Illinois is honored to host the 52nd Annual Midwest US Japan (MWJA) Conference, which is jointly held by the Midwest U.S.-Japan and Japan-Midwest U.S. Associations in Chicago. The MWJA Conference brings together Governors from Midwestern states as well as Japan, leading international companies, and executives. The conference serves as a unique venue for bringing together political and business leaders to foster investment opportunities and business relations.

“Japan serves as top business partner to Illinois, and we are thrilled to host and participate in this important convening that brings together business and government leaders from the Midwest and Japan,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Illinois is a national leader when it comes to attracting international company investments thanks to our innovative business environment, first-rate workforce, and world-class infrastructure. Illinois couldn’t be prouder to host this year’s summit and to help more global companies build a bright future here.”

The annual Midwest US Japan Conference convenes groups from across the Midwest and Japan, including elected officials and businesses with the shared goal of fostering economic collaboration between Midwestern states and Japan. The first in-person Midwest US Japan Conference since 2019 is attracting approximately 300 top officials and business leaders, offering Illinois and ideal opportunity to create new pathways for investment opportunities.

“Illinois is a global powerhouse with more than 380,000 Illinoisans working for companies based overseas,” said DCEO Director Sylvia I. Garcia. “Illinois is thrilled to host the Midwest US Japan Conference this year, which will continue to strengthen our close business relationship with Japan as we promote all our great state has to offer.”

The theme of the conference is “Building the Next Economy Together” – which serves as a symbol of Illinois and Japan’s commitment to continued collaboration in business and diplomacy. With Japanese firms in Illinois employing more than 42,000 people at 1,020 locations, Japan is Illinois’ largest foreign direct investment (FDI) partner for locations and second-largest FDI partner for the number of people employed.

FDI is crucial to the state’s economy, with over 2,600 international companies representing over 74 countries directly supporting over 380,000 jobs. The number of international companies investing increased nearly 30 percent from 2020 to 2021 – from approximately 2,000 to over 2,600.

“Japan is a top investor in Illinois, and we have tremendous business and cultural ties,” said Intersect Illinois CEO Dan Seals. “We are proud to host this impactful conference and appreciate Illinois’ business and civic communities coming together to strengthen ties between our state and Japan.”

Last year alone, Illinois welcomed over 600 new investments powering major projects in the fields of software and IT services, business and financial services, and manufacturing.

Delegates will promote a wide variety of Illinois communities for business investment, while highlighting the state’s assets including its modern transportation infrastructure, talented and diverse workforce, easy access to key suppliers, markets, and customers, as well as its supportive business climate.