Georgia Celebrates Success with Japan, Announces New Managing Director for Tokyo Office

Thursday, October 29th, 2020

Following recent Japanese investment announcements, including expansions of Toyota Compressor Parts America in Jackson County and F&P Georgia in Floyd County, the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) today celebrated the success of the long-term partnerships between the State of Georgia and Japan with a recommitment to GDEcD’s Tokyo office, which was established in 1973.

During a virtual meeting today with Japanese Consul General Kazuyuki Takeuchi, GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson highlighted the 31 years of service Yumiko Nakazono, managing director of Georgia’s Tokyo Office, has dedicated to strengthening the Georgia-Japan partnership. Ms. Nakazono will retire at the end of February, and GDEcD Senior Project Manager Joseph Huntemann will assume duties as managing director in Tokyo on March 1, 2021.

“Japan is one of Georgia’s most valuable international partners, and this strong relationship led for more than 30 years by Yumiko Nakazono has led to tens of thousands of jobs for hardworking Georgians, not to mention overall improved international ties and 10 ‘sister city’ relationships,” said Governor Brian P. Kemp. “I thank Yumiko for her years of dedication and celebrate the opportunities our Tokyo office has created for Georgia. We are committed to continuing this success as we work with the fantastic Japanese companies looking to locate or expand in Georgia.”

Yumiko Nakazono joined Georgia’s Japan office in 1989, and was promoted to the position of managing director just five years later. She served under six Georgia governors, and during that time the Japanese corporate presence in Georgia has grown significantly. Projects that Ms. Nakazono helped locate include Komatsu Forklift, Nisshinbo Brake, Yanmar, Toyo Tire and Toyota Industries, to name a few.

“Since 1989, the State of Georgia has had a world-class representative in Japan marketing the state to an incredibly important trading partner,” said U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, who served as Governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011 and led numerous trade missions to Japan during his terms in office. “I was especially proud to present the Governor George Busbee Award to Yumiko in 2007, which recognizes an individual who has contributed towards building ever stronger relationships between Japan and Georgia. It is only because of the efforts of people like Yumiko Nakazono that our nation’s exports reach welcoming new markets.”

Japan is one of the state’s leading investor nations and top trading partners. Approximately 30,000 Georgians are employed by Japanese-owned advanced manufacturing facilities and other businesses in communities across the state. In 2019, Georgia exports to Japan totaled $1.48 billion.

“For more than three decades, Yumiko Nakazono has been a steady force on behalf of the State of Georgia in Japan. Business leaders across Japan and the state know her, and I thank Yumiko for her dedicated service and friendship to me and so many others,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Georgia has maintained continuous representation in Japan for nearly 50 years; I am confident that Joseph Huntemann will be well-equipped to build upon Yumiko’s strong framework, which positions Georgia well for the future.”

“I’d like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the State of Georgia and to the people I have worked with over the past 31-plus years. I’m proud of the more than 500 Japanese companies that call Georgia home and wish them continued success,” said Ms. Nakazono. “I’ve had so many memories and valuable learning experiences because of the irreplaceable opportunity and environment I’ve been given and the wonderful people I have worked with, both internally and externally. I cannot begin to adequately express my thanks and feelings, but I am sure I will keep Georgia on my mind and continue to feel like part of the state and this team as I retire. As I look ahead, I am excited about applying my experiences here in the next chapter of my professional life.”

Currently a senior project manager for GDEcD’s Global Commerce team, Joseph Huntemann is respected within both the economic development community and Consular Corps. He earned his Master of Science in International Affairs from Georgia Tech and has served in GDEcD’s Global Commerce division for eight years overseeing economic development projects and international investments, including from Japan. Huntemann previously worked at the Consulate-General of Japan in Atlanta and is fluent in Japanese.

“As I look forward to continuing to carry out our mission of creating jobs and opportunities from Tokyo, I thank Yumiko Nakazono for her guidance and the example she has set,” said Mr. Huntemann. “I thank Commissioner Pat Wilson, Deputy Commissioner of Global Commerce Scott McMurray and countless others at the Department for their leadership and confidence in me.”