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Rauner visits Japanese companies that do some Downstate business

Wednesday, Sep 13, 2017

* Press release…

Gov. Bruce Rauner left Tokyo today aboard a high-speed Shinkansen train and arrived in Nagoya to visit several of the top auto-suppliers in the world as part of his first international trade mission. In Nagoya, the governor met with senior executives from Aisin Seiki, Toyota Boshoku and Sakae Riken Kogyo.

“These leading Japanese companies are driving economic development and innovation through parts of our state, including our smaller communities,” Gov. Rauner said. “These same communities are the foundation for economic growth in our state.”

Aisin’s main Illinois operations are in Marion and employ more than 2,000 people. The company develops and produces auto parts, including brake pads, engine parts and transmissions. The governor toured Aisin’s state-of-the-art campus and saw firsthand the leading research and development that is being developed.

The governor then met with the senior leadership team of Toyota Boshoku, which employs more than 1,000 people in Lawrenceville. It specializes in the manufacture and sale of seats, door trims and interior components. Last year, Toyota Boshoku announced a 100-person expansion of its Lawrenceville facility.

The governor finished the day with a visit to Sakae Riken Kogyo Co., Ltd. The family business has been operating for more than 45 years and produces a variety of products, including interior and exterior trim for automobiles, as well as parts for household appliances. Its U.S. affiliate, Eakas, has operations in Peru, Illinois, employing more than 400 people.

Understanding the importance of relationships in business in Asia, the governor underscored that “I believe our friendship is about shared values. We both value leadership. We value hard work. We value our families, and we value each other. This is why we will continue to strengthen our relationship, build our businesses and provide for our families.”

The governor thanked all the business and government leaders for a wonderful visit during his final full day in Japan, vowing to return soon to grow the special and highly respected relationship between Illinois and Japan. The governor travels to China on Thursday.

I just don’t quite get the purpose of this trip. Here’s the list of people he brought with him

Mark Peterson, President & CEO, Intersect Illinois; Erik Brejla, Assistant Deputy Director, Regional Economic Development, Illinois Department of Commerce; Kelly Nicholl, Chief Marketing Officer, Intersect Illinois; Jason Anderson, Economic Development Director, City of Rochelle; Paul J. Borek, Executive Director, DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation; Inga Carus, CEO & President, Carus Corporation; Jonathon Hallberg, Executive Director, Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation; Sheila Owens, Vice President of Economic Development & Business Development, ComEd; Edward Seidel, Vice President of Economic Development and Innovation, University of Illinois System.

The only person on that list who kinda seems to match up with those Nagoya meetings is the Carus CEO, whose company (which doesn’t seem to do any auto-related business) is based in Peru.

Illinois has more Japanese-Americans than any other Midwestern state, and the governor just attended a Midwestern trade event in Tokyo. Yet, he didn’t appear to take any Japanese-Americans with him.

…Adding… Is he tagging along with Indiana?…

…Adding More… Pritzker campaign…

Even while he’s in Asia trying to drum up business, Bruce Rauner seemingly can’t help himself when it comes to bad mouthing the state of Illinois.

In a recent interview from Japan, Rauner criticized Illinois’ business and regulatory climate. This criticism is the latest in a long history of Bruce Rauner disparaging Illinois’ business climate and blaming everything but his own manufactured budget crisis for the state’s economic struggles.

“Bruce Rauner devastates the Illinois economy when he’s home and then bad mouths the state when he’s abroad,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Rather than clean up the mess he’s made, Rauner puts the damage he has done on full display in a backwards attempt to attract new businesses our state desperately needs.”

…Adding Still More… Intersect Illinois deleted its tweet of a plate of food after Illinois Working Together made fun of it…


He looks kinda lonely. I mean, Indiana had 250 people at its dinner and he’s got two guys in an empty room.

And the same room, same company, but a different state…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 11:50 am:

    This trip is a total failure and the biggest indication that our GOP governor doesn’t understand the first thing about international business. Look back at similar trips under Thompson or Edgar and you had the A-list CEOs.

    This is an embarrassment to the governor and to the state. Oh yea, and he lied while on the trip about that company that supposedly wants to expand but won’t because of property taxes. What a pathetic failure.

  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 11:53 am:

    The DeKalb/Rochelle reps. are interesting, like they’re trying to line something up on that twenty miles of I-88 between them.

    Liandro, are you out there? What gives?

  3. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 11:53 am:

    Unless there is some serious deal-making on the Toyota-Mazda front going on, then this is just a way for Rauner to escape the pressures in Illinois about his family history, IPI/BTIA hires, little old lady stories, and other issues he has been “pressed” on lately. He controls the media and pics, and there are no hard questions at pressers. But, in reality, he’s causing more questions and head scratching by some of his ardent supporters, which may not help him out in the General next year.

  4. - Stones - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 11:58 am:

    Publicity hound.

  5. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 11:59 am:

    To the update, maybe he’s just Illinoyed.

  6. - Henry Francis - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 12:00 pm:

    Based on that pres release it sounds like the strategy is to strengthen existing relationships/projects - as opposed to create new relationships.

    And the focus seems to be on any area in the state but Chicago.

    Or it’s a great boondoggle for the local economic development folks.

  7. - Ok - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 12:01 pm:


  8. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 12:03 pm:

    Strengthening business ties with corporations who are doing business in Illinois.

    Why is the purpose of the trip such a mystery Rich?

  9. - Norseman - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    === Is he tagging along with Indiana? ===

    Probably to try and learn something. Rauner is new to this promoting your state thing.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    For me?

    After 2 1/2 years of continued internal Illinois strife and the ongoing election cycle with pauses long enough to actually have a primary and general election, the Governor, with an veto-overridden budget in one hand and school funding success in the other embarks on actual “governor” duties, overseas no less, and…

    … fails in every measure;


    … we are witnessing, in real time, a governor lacking in the total grasp and understanding of both his job and what a mission like this should be, executed, and with a list of accomplishments with state private sector leaders that bot only reflect what makes Illinois great, what Illinois can do, and how Illinois relates… at all levels…

    … at all levels…

    … with our hosts and their businesses and cultures.

    This is looking like an 8th Grade overseas trip taken during “Fall Break” and a 5-page paper is due in class afterwards.

    What a failure.

  11. - Thomas Paine - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 12:05 pm:

    He should have atleast included someone from World Business Chicago, like Rahm Emanuel, Michael Sacks or JB Pritzker.

  12. - Ghost - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 12:10 pm:

    or Rauner was like; “Hey, free trip…”

    Rauner investment firm later reports new deals with Japanese companies….

  13. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 12:14 pm:

    Rauner is just plain bad at the job of being governor.

    Regardless of his ideology or temperament or character, he is bad at this.

  14. - State worker - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 12:21 pm:

    OW said it all. It takes a lot more than squeezing the beast to do this job. It takes all the thinkin’ and plannin’ and reachin’ out that other governors, in retrospect, have made look easy.

  15. - Hyperbolic Chamber - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 12:23 pm:

    He just wants to burn the state down so he can rebuild from the ground up. This trip fits his narrative: ‘I’m a bid-ness guy. I tried to attract new bid-nesses here. Heck, I even went to Japan and China to attract more bid-nesses. They just wouldn’t come. They told me, ‘Governor, we’d like to locate in Illinois. If only you had term limits there.'’

  16. - Hyperbolic Chamber - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 12:29 pm:

    The Rochelle-DeKalb angle may have something to do with the fact that Nippon Sharyo located a train car manufacturing facility there (something Pat Quinn got done, BTW). Maybe he’s using them as emissaries to describe their experiences?

  17. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    OW- although ultimately it is Rauners failure, it is more a failure of DCEO. They were the ones who were lining this up, putting the delegation together, making the contacts but one person can only do so much. To bad he lacks the staff that other administrations had to do that. Instead Rauner handed the duty to three people at Intersect Illinois who don’t play well with others. Thus 4 people involved and this is what you get

    Missed opportunity

    Had Rauners agency been staffed and not husked we would have a different result.

    Trade delegation: Serious Tip about the Chinese
    Always Deny a Compliment then counter compliment

    If a Chinese person says “We are so honored to have a delegation from the best state in the union”
    Say “Thank you but we are an insignificant state and just happy to be invited with great states like Indiana”.
    “We feel lucky to be invited to be with the economic elite, the powerhouses of China.”
    They will then counter deprecate.

    It will go on for a bit by eventually end
    This establishes trust and humility
    For Gods sake never accept a compliment
    This will demonstrate your arrogance
    And you won’t be trusted
    Believe me the Chinese will have done their homework
    They will know our capabilities and strengths.
    If you brag it’s a total turnoff for them
    You show strength by showing humility.
    The Chinese actually love Illinois
    And if they ask you to sing karaoke
    Go with John Denver
    “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”
    I hope you brought the plaid shirt
    I’m not even kidding
    Drop the tie, drop the g’s
    Put on your carhardt
    And the Chinese will eat you up and ask for seconds

    I know all this from working at a Chinese Bookstore for four years during college.

  18. - COPN - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 12:33 pm:

    That Illinois group seems to hit the main points if needing quick responses to real development questions. An auto CEO certainly would’ve helped if/when specific auto jargon came up, but otherwise I imagine the substantive conversations would mostly be about energy costs, education level of the workforce, demographics of various regions in the state, and tax incentives/burdens.

  19. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 12:36 pm:

    Grand Poohbah, Rauner is strengthening existing business ties? Are you sure?

    Japan was the fourth largest market for U.S. ag products at $11B in 2016, according to the USTR.

    Corn was the #1 ag export to Japan at $2.1B, pork was #2 at $1.6B.

    Illinois is the nation’s largest corn producer and second-largest pork producer.

    You see any ag reps. in that delegation, building on existing ties?

    The governor is on a trip to drum up business in two of the largest international markets for Illinois farmers and didn’t think to bring any ag reps.

    What are they, chopped liver?

    It’s shockingly, inexplicably stupid. Do he and BTIA(TM) ever look out the window on the drive between their Chicago homes and Springfield?

  20. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 12:47 pm:

    ==This trip fits his narrative: ‘I’m a bid-ness guy. I tried to attract new bid-nesses here. Heck, I even went to Japan and China to attract more bid-nesses. They just wouldn’t come. They told me, ‘Governor, we’d like to locate in Illinois. If only you had term limits there.’’==

    You’re probably right, but that’s not a narrative conducive to re-election.

  21. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 1:11 pm:

    – … in a backwards attempt …–

    backward, not backwards


  22. - Ghost - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 1:13 pm:

    Word on top of that by pulling out of the pacific trade agreement our ag exports are going to go up in cost to japan, while ag products from memeber countries will go down in price

  23. - blue dog dem - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 1:20 pm:

    Glad we got out of TPP. did nothing for many of us.

  24. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 1:21 pm:

    Couple points…

    Pritzker Crew continues to put a very fine point and framing where Rauner “is” on this trip, and not only pointing out Rauner’s words, actions, but how “backwards” (as they said) this attempt is and how silly Rauner sounds.

    To the Rauner “lonely” picture.

    For the love of Pete… get closer when you take embarrassingly terrible pictures. That picture makes the Governor look like HE paid $25 to get HIS picture taken with two “superstars” and the camera phone took the result.

    What a pathetic image.

    Illinois Working? I’m still waiting for a day you fail to grasp what’s at play and how Rauner fails. I seek your tweets often.

    - Honeybear - and to your points,

    I see staffing and staffing errors “now” as a “branding” issue that I will take up to and question the choices Bruce and Diana Rauner have made to make Rauberism work in governing. With 350+ emails in, I’d still point upward, on the decisions, not downward where obvious administration failings are occurring as a result of “branding” decisions

    Yes, it could be a ploy, to “fail” purposely, but - Arsenal - really covered that completely with brevity.

    (Hat tip to - State Worker -)

  25. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 1:24 pm:

    Checked out their website. Noted the following that was missed by the howling kneejerk naysayers around these parts: “James R. Thompson, former four-term Governor of Illinois and now Chairman of the international law firm of Winston & Strawn, chairs the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association.”

    Their website also allows you to download a list of their members, so I took the liberty of doing so. The list is heavily loaded with manufacturers, including automobiles and parts, hotels, chemical companies, Japanese banks, airlines and pharmaceuticals. Unless I’m missing something here, I didn’t see much in the way of agriculture. Their focus seems more directed towards manufacturing.

    Then I compared the Rauner delegation list to the membership list. The composition of the Rauner delegation seems pretty compatible to that of the membership list of this organization.

    Something Illinois desperately needs? More manufacturing jobs? And is Pritzker is suddenly anti-hotel or something?


  26. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 1:28 pm:

    ===Then I compared the Rauner delegation list to the membership list. The composition of the Rauner delegation seems pretty compatible to that of the membership list of this organization.===

    Huh? One manufacturer from Peru?

  27. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 1:30 pm:

    - Louis G. Atsaves -

    Isn’t James R Thompson “part and parcel” of the “career politician establishment” that Rauner “howls” about? Now Rauner is willing to see JRT as a worthy person that he (Rauner) needs to work with for a better Illinois?

    Rauner himself “howls” about “decades” of mismanagement and failed leadership, and now your crutch is a “career politician” that helped in “decades” of mismanagement?



  28. - Henry Francis - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 1:31 pm:

    Honey Bear, it is Intersect, not DCEO, that is leading this trip.

    As you mentioned, DCEO has been stripped of its parts. There is only 1 DCEO person on the trip. 3 from Intersect.

    And it is Intersect that is doing all the tweeting. The Guv or the state has barely done anything.

    Ironic that the Indiana folks are making our delegation look bad in comparison. We stole their superstar Kelly Nicholl and paid her big bucks to cross the border. She’s on the trip tweeting pictures of food, while her old team she left behind in Indiana is hosting receptions with 250+ people and making significant job and investment announcements.

  29. - The Way I See It - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 1:40 pm:

    Rauner is hanging out with the Indiana delegation nodding his head so hard and so rapidly he is going to rupture a disc in his neck when the Indiana people tell him about the paradise to the east of us. That way he can come back and tell us how the Japanese all wanted to come here but we needed to have fewer topics of collective bargaining for municipal employees or term limits or some such nonsense.

  30. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 1:44 pm:

    Prediction: Before this trip is over, Rauner will negotiate a massive tax break plan to bring Diamond Star Motors to Bloomington-Normal.

    The folks at Mitsubishi will look at each other, barely able to believe that they’ll get away with it twice.

    At the post announcement news conference, reporters will inform a deer-in-headlights looking Rauner that a couple decades ago Illinois gave everything away for a now-shuttered Mitsubishi plant.

    Rauner will simply keep muttering “Illinois is broken. Illinois is broken. Illinois is broken …”

  31. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 1:46 pm:

    Started Googling the membership names at random picks:

    Bridgestone Manufacturing: Bloomington-Normal
    Mitsubishi Corporation: Schaumburg
    Hitachi, Ltd: Naperville

    When I have time later, I’ll try a few more.

  32. - JB13 - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 2:07 pm:

    So… we should be more like Indiana? Or no?

  33. - Dan Johnson - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 2:17 pm:

    He rode a high-speed train. That’s cool.

    We should build those here.

  34. - Alliance4RegionalDevelopment - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 2:28 pm:

    The Alliance encourages coordination between Indiana and Illinois. Let’s hope both Governors are successful in bringing business back home. The whole region benefits when decision-makers work across state lines.

    See the Alliance for Regional Development website:

  35. - Lake County oldie - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 3:44 pm:

    Didn’t Goldberg’s outgoing statement say he was turning back to foreign policy consulting? Maybe they should’ve called him first…

  36. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 3:44 pm:


    You’re embarrassing yourself. The question isn’t who is on Intersect’s board. The question is who is on this mission. I can promise you CEO to CEO contacts do infinitely more to bring real trade than NGO to CEO contacts. Do you really deny that?

    Oh, and since you mentioned Thompson, perhaps look at his history of this kind of trip. He brought A-list Illinois CEOs when he did trade missions (as well as relevant individuals from the Ag world) and they produced results. Not the CEO of Carus.

    So yea, please continue to defend this joke of a trip.

  37. - igotgotgotgotnotime - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 3:58 pm:

    State embarrassment turned regional embarrassment turned national embarrassment Bruce Rauner tries his hand at international embarrassment-hood, and the prognosis is promising.

  38. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 3:58 pm:

    Louis, do you have a point? Other than the one on top of your head?

    JHC Almighty, how the heck did farmers get ignored here? Illinois farm income has been taking a beating the last couple of years, but Gov. Salesman can’t take his mad skills to Asia to help the folks Downstate?

    Lot of people in Asia. They all like to eat.

    Louis, have you ever driven around the state?

    That flora ain’t prairie grass, it’s beans and corn. And that aroma from those big sheds ain’t roses, it’s hogs.

    And you can sell them all, in Japan and China.

    No worries for you, Louis. State check is in the mail, obvious conflict of interest brings in the clients.

    That’s your credibility.

  39. - JT11505 - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 4:11 pm:

    Nippon Sharyo has laid off half of their workforce in the past 2 years, so, um, no.

  40. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 4:40 pm:

    @wordslinger, I’ve driven thousands of miles across the state over the years, as evidenced by the Jeep Grand Cherokee I use daily which now sports nearly 380,000 miles. And that’s just one of many vehicles used over 38 years.

    I can tell you which manufacturing plants have closed, where they are, others which are not operating any where near capacity, and which communities have been decimated by the loss of jobs, and all the while, yes even noticing the acres upon acres of farmland, including the increases in corporate farming and the decline of the family farm.

    The conference in Japan appears to be about manufacturing and trading manufactured materials. Rauner’s list of people seem more compatible to this conference than your complaints. The more names I Google on the membership list of that organization, the more connections I find with the State of Illinois.

    Go to their website. Check out their membership. My only criticism after my brief research is that Rauner should have started this process two years ago.

    Educate yourself or resume your squabbling.

    That’s my credibility on this issue.

    I also will not apologize if my not following the anti-Rauner train you climbed on ages ago offends you and others around here. For the sake of the future of this state, let’s hope these visits and missions produce something positive down the road.

    There are two sides to every coin.

  41. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 4:55 pm:

    –I can tell you which manufacturing plants have closed, where they are, others which are not operating any where near capacity, and which communities have been decimated by the loss of jobs, and all the while, yes even noticing the acres upon acres of farmland, including the increases in corporate farming and the decline of the family farm.–

    Yeah, so can I and every other sentient being in the state.

    But your family paycheck and conflict-of-interest keeps on rolling.

    But tell, us weeping JC on the cross:

    Why no ag on this trip? Is it on purpose, or just stupid?

  42. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 6:16 pm:

    @wordslinger, that is the second personal attack you have levied against me. First I have a pointy head, now I have a conflict of interest and paychecks?

    Do have any information or statistics that would rebut the comment of mine you cut and pasted and then ridiculed with personal attacks?

    If not, then what are you squabbling about?

  43. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 6:23 pm:

    –Do have any information or statistics that would rebut the comment of mine you cut and pasted and then ridiculed with personal attacks?–
    You’re referring to this:

    –I can tell you which manufacturing plants have closed, where they are, others which are not operating any where near capacity, and which communities have been decimated by the loss of jobs, and all the while, yes even noticing the acres upon acres of farmland, including the increases in corporate farming and the decline of the family farm.–

    What am I supposed to rebut there?

    You’re in over your head, Louis. Cash your checks, post your Rauner bromance pics and be happy.

  44. - blue dog dem - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 10:28 pm:

    Word. Cry me a river over ag the last four years. The cpmmodities the prior five were unsustainable. How come no steel representation?
    We, the American taxpayer subsidize ag to the tune of about $20 bil/yr.

    Keep ag at home. No sales taX. No motor fuels tax. Mom and pop left the farm two decades ago.

  45. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 13, 17 @ 11:20 pm:

    BDD, you’re such a phony.

    Cry me a river on your buddy Trump and steel.

    All those towers with his name on it, China steel.

    And everything in those towers, imported.

    His marketing brags about it. Look it up.

    Try the google, and you’ll see. It ain’t a secret.

    My point has been that there’s an Illinois trade mission to hungry Asia and Illinois farmers were blown off by the governor.

    Defend that, Einstein.

  46. - Blue dog dem - Thursday, Sep 14, 17 @ 7:09 am:

    You must be on the other teat Word. Dont much care about aTrump building. What i do care about is my tax bill. In the steel world, if you over produce ,prices usually drop. In the ag world if you over produce, you get price supports. Thats the kinda free market princilples you and your buddy Rauner believe in. Crony capitalism. Might be for the Word, but not old phony blue.

  47. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 14, 17 @ 7:15 am:

    ===Thats the kinda free market princilples you and your buddy Rauner believe in===

    I dunno if equating Rauner and - Wordslinger - as policy buddies helps in this policy discussion…

  48. - Blue dog dem - Thursday, Sep 14, 17 @ 7:36 am:

    OW. I tried to keep it above board, but that phoney thing bothered me. How did Word know my real name isnt old Blue?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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