Visit of Consul General Nakai in Orlando

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Kazuhiro Nakai, Consul General of the Consulate-General of Japan in Miami visit to Orlando in May was significant as it strengthened diplomatic ties. Meeting with two mayors and President of UCF shows the importance Japan places on fostering relationships at the local level. Such engagements can lead to collaborations in various sectors, benefiting both countries. This kind of interaction demonstrates the value of face-to-face communication in international relations.

Consul General Nakai in Orlando
Consul General Kazuhiro Nakai met Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

On May 14, Consul General Kazuhiro Nakai met Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

During the meeting, Mayor Demings noted that leading Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi Power and Mitsukoshi were active in Orange County and said that expanding business ties with Japan was one of the top priorities for the County.

Consul General Nakai introduced Mayor Demings to the “Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on Economic and Trade Relations between the Government of Japan and the State of Florida” signed last October, which identified promising sectors for business expansion between Japan and Florida, such as aerospace and life science/biotech.

Consul General Nakai mentioned that those sectors were rapidly advancing in Orange County and producing significant potential for business expansion with Japan, and stressed that it was important to promote such opportunities to the Japanese business community.

Mayor Demings responded that in Orange County, significant advancements in cutting-edge industries such as aerospace have been accelerated through collaboration among industry, government, and academia. He said the county would like to further showcase this business potential to Japan.

Consul General Nakai and Mayor Demings discussed effective ways to do this, including the possibility of the Orange County trade mission to Japan.


Consul General Nakai in Orlando
Consul General Kazuhiro Nakai met Mayor Buddy Dyer of Orlando.

On May 14th, Consul General Kazuhiro Nakai met Mayor Buddy Dyer of Orlando, who was visiting Japan to promote trade and investment the following week in May. Mayor Dyer explained that this year marks the 35th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Orlando and Urayasu which will be celebrated in Orlando while his trade mission was also going to celebrate this milestone in Urayasu.

Mayor Dyer noted that the prime purpose of this mission was to attract semiconductor-related companies to NeoCity in Kissimmee, a prominent industrial development area near Orlando, and that the NeoCity representative was joining his delegation, which was also visiting Taiwan and South Korea before going to Japan. He then stressed that promoting space business with Japan was another key objective, and his delegation would be joined by Dr. Alexander Cartwright, president of the University of Central Florida, who is playing a key role in developing space business in Florida.

Consul General Nakai encouraged these efforts, stating Central Florida, including Orlando, has seen rapid progress in industries such as semiconductors and space, creating numerous business opportunities. He also said, since these opportunities were not widely recognized in Japan, he was pleased that Mayor Dyer would promote them to the Japanese business community in this mission.

Mayor Dyer mentioned that he had been advocating for a direct flight between Orlando and Japan over decades and this issue was another primary objective of this visit. He explained that Mr. Kevin Thibault, Director of Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, would join the mission, to encourage Japanese airline companies to start this direct flight. Consul General Nakai responded that he had been working with Japanese carriers to consider the direct flight to Florida and he was encouraged that just a few days ago, ZIPAIR, a subsidiary of JAL, visited Orlando to explore the possibility of direct flights to Orlando.


Consul General Nakai in Orlando
Consul General Nakai met Dr. Alexander Cartwright, President of the University of Central Florida (UCF)

On May 14th, Consul General Nakai met Dr. Alexander Cartwright, President of the University of Central Florida (UCF).

Central Florida’s space industry has been developing rapidly, driven by robust collaboration among industry, government, and academia, making significant advancements in technology and workforce development. Dr. Cartwright is playing an important role in advancing this collaboration.

Consul General Nakai appreciated that Dr. Cartwright took part in the aerospace business panel at the Japan-U.S. Southeast Joint Conference in Orlando in 2022 and briefed him on advancements on the efforts to promote the Japan-Florida space business, such as the Florida Space Seminar held in Tokyo last October.

Dr. Cartwright told Consul General Nakai that he was pleased to visit Japan the following week in May, along with the Mayor of Orlando, to promote space business opportunities between Japan and Florida.

Consul General Nakai mentioned that while Florida was best known in Japan as a favorite tourist destination, there has been significant growth in advanced industries such as the space sector which is creating new business opportunities. He stressed that it was very important to actively promote them to the Japanese business community.

Consul General Nakai and Dr. Cartwright said they were willing to cooperate to develop academic exchange and business in the field of space between Japan and Florida.