Political and Economic Section
The Political and Economic Section, U.S. Consulate General Osaka-Kobe covers important regions in western Japan. In particular, Kinki (also referred to as the Kansai region), centered on the prefectures of Kyoto, Osaka, and Hyogo, is the second largest regional economy after Tokyo. The region maintains strong political, business, and cultural ties to the Asian mainland. As an important economic engine, the center of traditional Japanese culture for over a millennium, and a scientific powerhouse, our district matters a great deal to the U.S. government. The Political and Economic Section of the Consulate General is very interested in learning about the political, economic, social, and scientific trends affecting our district. Serving as a bridge between the embassy and local residents, we try to enhance the interaction between western Japan and the United States and to deepen the strong ties between our peoples. The section also occasionally organizes lectures and speeches by the Consul General and the Consul for Political and Economic Affairs regarding U.S. policy.
Working closely with regional governments, national and local politicians, the Japanese central government, NGOs, and social activists, the section examines local developments in Japanese politics and policy, and how local developments affect national policies. Two of our main political areas of interest are decentralization and the relationship between the central government and regional governments.
The section works actively to promote the U.S.-Japan Alliance. Military ties and defense cooperation between our governments are an integral part of the alliance and a key to maintaining security in Northeast Asia. Although our district is not home to major U.S. Forces Japan facilities or personnel, the areas long coastline and major seaports make it a natural location for port visits by the U.S. Navy. Our section works to ensure successful port visits. In addition, our district is home to major Japanese Self Defense Forces facilities.
The section looks at various economic data, including macroeconomic trends, finance, services, trade, the environment, energy, manufacturing, aviation, biotechnology, and the medical industry in our district. Recently, bilateral investment is becoming an important element of our economic relations. We actively promote bilateral foreign direct investment (FDI) as well as Japanese deregulation, and structural reform. In order to promote FDI and its benefits to the economy, the “U.S.-Japan Investment Initiative” was established between both governments in 2001. Since then, joint investment seminars by both governments are held every year both in the U.S. and Japan. The section works with American businesses, local governments, regional economic organizations, and local firms to strengthen our global economic partnership from the local level.
Our district is host to many international scientific conferences. In addition, the central and local governments and businesses in the region operate major research facilities here such as Kansai Science City, Saito Life Science Park, Kobe Medical Industry Development Project. The Kyoto Protocol (UN COP3) was negotiated at the Kyoto International Conference Hall. Fukui Prefecture is home to 15 nuclear power facilities and experimental nuclear facilities such as the Monju Fast Breeder Nuclear Reactor
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service staff in the Commercial Sections of the American Embassy in Tokyo and Consulates in Japan provide assistance to American companies exporting to and doing business in Japan. The Commercial Service at Osaka-Kobe has national responsibility for the industries of housing and residential building materials, interior textiles, apparel and sporting goods.
Commerce staff in Osaka work with American companies to facilitate participation in major construction projects in the Kansai region and to promote exports of American high technology, health care and other products to the region.
Detailed information on Commercial Service market research, trade missions and marketing opportunities, as well as other services for American manufacturers and exporters can be found on the Commercial Service Japan website in English or Japanese
Agricultural Trade Office
ATO Osaka was established in 1992 in order to more fully serve our most important market for agricultural exports. In the past, with most public and private Agricultural Trade Promotion presence focused in the Tokyo region, many import opportunities in Western Japan were not fully realized. Under the motto “working at every level of the distribution chain,” ATO Osaka is where the rubber meets the road for U.S. agricultural exports from Shiga Prefecture to Okinawa.
ATO Osaka specializes in helping companies with some Japanese market presence to expand their distribution through three key sectors: retail, wholesale and food service. This is accomplished through participation in specialized trade shows, as well as working directly with identified target companies in getting more U.S. product on the shelf (which often takes the form of an American promotion).
As part of the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service team in Japan, ATO Osaka is attached to the American Consulate General in Osaka-Kobe, and ATO Tokyo is attached to the American Embassy in Tokyo. Both offices engage in strategic trade promotion and market intelligence activities for American high-value and value-added consumer-oriented food products in coordination with a vast network of USDA-funded cooperator trade organizations and state governments representing various small and medium-sized enterprises across the country.