FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Steve Beshear and top aide Larry Hayes were part of a past team that hit the economic development jackpot by luring Toyoto Motor Corp. to Kentucky. Now they're hoping for more business ties between Japan and the bluegrass.
Beshear will lead a Kentucky delegation that leaves Sunday for a weeklong economic development trip to Japan - which ranks first in foreign investment in Kentucky.
"There is no better time than now to take advantage of our ongoing successes while planting the seed for future growth of Japanese companies in Kentucky," Beshear said in a statement. "The value of the yen against the U.S. dollar means these companies are actively looking for expansion opportunities in the United States."
Beshear spokesman Dick Brown said the group will meet with executives from Japanese companies that have a presence in Kentucky. One session will be with an influential consortium of Japanese businesses with ties to the U.S., he said.
Hayes, who is Beshear's Executive Cabinet secretary, said at least two or three meetings will be with potential new business prospects for Kentucky. He said that nurturing personal relationships with Japanese business executives is crucial.
"I don't think you can complete a deal without the governor - who is the CEO of this state - having developed a relationship, and they look each other in the eye," Hayes said.