IDAHO FALLS — An aluminum casting company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, has opened an office in Idaho Falls — its first in the U.S.
Sakae Casting, along with economic development and government officials who worked together to bring the company here, celebrated its grand opening at 477 Shoup Ave., Suite 102, on Thursday.
Takashi Suzuki, president and CEO of Sakae Casting, said he’s excited to have the company’s first U.S. presence in Eastern Idaho.
Sakae’s grand opening took place approximately a year after company representatives first visited the area as part of a Sister City program between Idaho Falls and Tokai-Mura Japan.
Jan Rogers, CEO of Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho (REDI), said she was given a brief opportunity to meet with the representatives in March 2016. She encouraged them to attend SelectUSA’s federal foreign direct investment summit that summer, where she had an opportunity to speak with them further.
Sakae Casting representatives eventually returned to Idaho Falls to meet potential partners, and Rogers said REDI, state economic development and government officials, and those involved with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s SelectUSA program — which strives to attract foreign business investments to the U.S. — all worked together to facilitate the deal over the last year. She believes the project illustrates just how much can be accomplished when everyone is willing to work together.
“This is what can be (when we’re) all focused on the end game,” she said.
Sen. Kelly Anthon, R-Burley, who speaks fluent Japanese and has been involved in many economic development efforts, also assisted in the project.
He says Sakae Casting’s decision to locate in Idaho Falls not only proves the importance of teamwork, but it also shows that state efforts to bring foreign investments here are working.
“We’re attracting investment into Idaho instead of U.S. dollars going overseas,” he said.
Anthon hopes Sakae Casting’s decision to locate here will help draw other companies from Japan into the state.
 “This really opens the door to a lot of good things in Idaho. At the end of the day, for me, economic development (is about) building opportunities for Idaho families,” he said, adding that the more high-paying jobs they can attract to the area, the more likely people will be able to stay, work and raise their families here. “This is a good step in that direction.”
Rogers agrees.
Rogers said Sakae Casting is just beginning its work, but she anticipates that the company will develop a larger presence in Idaho Falls in the future. She’s looking forward to the opportunities that will unfold for both the company and the region.
Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper agrees.
“Eastern Idaho is full of passionate innovators in nuclear research and development who will help channel our region’s creative energy to identify the best forward path with our international partners,” she said in the news release. “We welcome Sakae Casting to Eastern Idaho and congratulate them on their accomplishments thus far. We look forward to working with them to grow and strengthen this vital industry and bring in still more creative partners.”