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Duggan leaves Friday to Japan on 1st trade trip

The Detroit News

Mayor Mike Duggan is scheduled to leave Friday on a business and trade trip to Japan, his first international foray as Detroit’s top elected official.

He will travel to Tokyo and Toyota City, Detroit’s sister city. Duggan will give addresses in both cities about Detroit’s economic recovery and emergence from bankruptcy, his office announced Tuesday.

“Detroit has long played a significant role in international trade. There are currently approximately 40,000 people employed by Japanese industries in Michigan,” Duggan said. “This trip will build on that history and lay the groundwork for the expansion of jobs for Detroiters.”

Japan is an important market for U.S. goods, services and agricultural products, the mayor’s office said in a statement.

While in Toyota City, officials will mark the 55th anniversary of the Sister Cities relationship between the two municipalities.

Also on the itinerary is a reception in Tokyo at the home of the United States deputy ambassador to Japan, a meeting with the parliamentary vice-minister for economic affairs, Takashi Uto, and a visit to the Toyota Motor Corp.

The trip is scheduled to end Tuesday. City officials say no taxpayer money is being used. Airfare for Duggan and other regional officials is being paid for by Delta Air Lines. The Japan America Society of Michigan and Southwestern Ontario is covering other expenses.

Also on the trip will be Tom Lewand, group executive for jobs and economy; Julie M. Egan, senior adviser from U.S. State Department and member of the White House’s Detroit Federal Working Group; and Bruce Brownlee, chairman of the Japan American Society of Detroit.

Detroit businesses represented on the trip are Delta, Shinola, Cog Studio, Walker-Miller Energy Services, Wayne State University, Detroit City Distillery and James Group International.

The Japanese business community contributed nearly $3.2 million toward the so-called “grand bargain” that helped Detroit emerge from bankruptcy, including a $1 million donation from Toyota, to help preserve retiree pensions and the DIA art collection, Duggan’s office said.