Duggan arrives in Japan for business, trade trip

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan arrived in Japan on Friday for a business and trade trip touted as his first international outing as the city’s top elected official.

“Among his visits tomorrow will be to Toyota East high school, which is the host high school for students visiting from Detroit,” spokesman John Roach said in an email Friday night.

“He also will meet with with Mayor Ota and Mrs. Ota; City Council Chairman Kamiya and Mrs. Kamiya, Mr. Kanshiro Toyoda, and Mrs. Akiko Toyoda.”

Duggan’s office this week announced he would travel with a delegation to Japan to mark the 55th anniversary of the Sister Cities relationship between Detroit and Toyota City, Japan. He also is set to highlight Detroit’s economic recovery during addresses in the sister municipality and Tokyo.

“Mayor Duggan chose Japan for his first international trip because of the special business and cultural relationship between Japan and the city of Detroit,” officials said.

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.

His delegation includes Tom Lewand, the city’s 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 owners and representatives also were invited to accompany the group.

Duggan’s trip is scheduled to last through Tuesday. 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.