INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - He leads a 40-person delegation that includes business leaders, two mayors, First Lady Karen Pence and their daughter, Charlotte, who is traveling at family expense. They will be gone for 10 days.
The delegation departed from the Indianapolis International Airport Thursday morning on a trip that will include visits to executives from Mitsubishi, Toyota, Honda and Subaru. Among those on the trip are Commerce Secretary Victor Smith, who has been to Japan 22 times as an executive in private industry and Jim Shellinger, a Democrat who ran for governor in 2008.
The trip is timed so that Pence can take part in a Midwest U.S.-Japan Conference next week.
"I wanted to make a statement that Japan would be our first trip," said Pence. "Japan is unquestionably our most important bi-lateral trading partner and I think making the statement that we're going to Japan and only to Japan is an important statement for our administration to make."
Gov. Pence said he got some advice from former governor Mitch Daniels, who led annual trade missions to Asia. The two talked on the phone Wednesday.
Pence said this trip is more about renewing and securing old relationships but he also hopes to pick up some new trading partners.
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