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DeSantis and First Lady Meet With Japan’s Prime Minister

The governor told Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that he appreciated what a great ally the country has been to the U.S. – while also asking for more investment into Florida.

TOKYO, JAPAN — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan. Florida and Japan have maintained a strategic partnership based on shared values of democracy, human rights and a belief in the free market economy.

In today’s meeting, the governor focused on the trade relationship between Florida and Japan. DeSantis picked up the discussions that were started in Florida last November with key Japanese business leaders during the Southeastern United States – Japan Conference (SEUS Japan).

“Japan has been a strong trade partner with Florida and I believe that we can work together to create even more opportunities for the future,” said the governor. “I was happy to meet with the prime minister and his team to build on discussions we had during the SEUS Japan Conference in Florida. I look forward to continuing our prosperous business relationship.”


As a potential U.S. presidential candidate, DeSantis told the prime minister he appreciated what a great ally Japan has been to the U.S. for many, many decades. Last year the country unveiled a $315 billion investment to expand its military as North Korea and China continue to flex military power and test missiles in the region.

"We very much applaud your efforts to bolster your defenses,” said DeSantis. We understand it’s a tough neighborhood out here,cand we really believe that a strong Japan is good for America, and a strong America is good for Japan.”

Later on Monday evening ahead of a working dinner with Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, DeSantis said he hoped to see a larger Japanese investment in Florida.

“You are the number one foreign direct investment in America – which we appreciate, but you’re only number six in Florida, so I think we can make that go higher,” DeSantis said.


Japan is Florida’s third largest bilateral trade partner with annual trade surpassing $7.7 billion. Additionally, Florida is home to over 200 Japanese firms which invest billions into the state economy.

Florida is also a convenient base for Japanese companies looking to expand into the Southeastern U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean region. Japan is the 6th largest foreign investor in Florida, with more than 200 Japanese companies employing more than 22,000 Floridians with holdings totaling more than $5.2 billion.

Bilateral trade between Florida and Japan exceeds $6.6 billion annually, making it Florida’s 2nd largest bilateral merchandise trade partner in the Asia-Pacific region and Florida’s 7th largest partner overall.

In 2022, Japan imported approximately $636 million in goods from Florida seaports and airports. Automobiles and related products account for almost 81% of all exports from Japan to Florida, with the Port of Jacksonville consistently serving as one of the top three ports for unloading Japanese vehicles for the United States.