Japanese companies visit Magic Valley for business talks

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Representatives from six different Japanese companies came to the Magic Valley Wednesday to see what the area offers as they think about possibly building up a business in the future.

The group toured many companies in the Magic Valley, including a business in Jerome, CLIF Bar and the spot for NewCold in Burley.

"We've been working recently with small and mid-sized businesses from Japan who have got an interest in what we're doing here in Idaho," said Kelly Anthon, a member of the Idaho State Senate.

He said two companies have already announced a presence in eastern Idaho.

"This is kind of the next generation of companies that have seen the initial success of Japanese companies in Idaho and have decided to check things out themselves," he said.

Nakahara Koichirou owns a company called Tec, an electronic circuit board manufacturer. He told KMVT this visit was the first time he's been in the Magic Valley.

"Great nature, good environment, good companies coming here," he said. "I understand why they come."

Koichirou has partners who are possibly interested in producing a new type of Idaho potato-based distilled alcohol, aka vodka.

"I think this is the beginning of a very good relationship with Japan, and I think what's important for us as Idahoans is that we are seeing such good economic success that others from other places want to join in," Anthon said.

Twin Falls Mayor Shawn Barigar said he had the opportunity to meet a few of the men from the Select USA Investment Summit two years ago.

"We're very excited as the city of Twin Falls, certainly our partners throughout the region, to look for opportunities to help these businesses potentially settle in the Magic Valley and be successful," he said, "but mostly just a great chance to showcase our existing corporate partners and really share the secret sauce of the Magic Valley on how well we work with business."

Koichirou said he was impressed with the area.

"We have a chance. We really want to come up here and open a place, a factory, I think. So we want to expand our business," he said.

Anthon said if these companies coming in can create many different opportunities, not just "growth for growth's sake."

"The hope is we are going to convince these companies to invest here in Idaho, to create jobs in Idaho and to create opportunities for Idaho families," he said.

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