It was a trade mission; the best trade mission to date, according to Gov. Pete Ricketts.
But, a troubling international development grew even more menacing as a Nebraska delegation met with Japanese business executives and political leaders, pitching opportunities to trade with and invest in the state.
The specter of North Korea clouds the future for Japan and the region.
Ricketts says Japan is on alert after North Korea sent a test missile over the country.
“One of the things that I and my fellow governors did was to express our solidarity with Japan; that the people of the United States understand it’s an important alliance and we’re going to support Japan in facing aggression and trying to keep peace and stability in Asia,” Ricketts tells reporters during a news conference.
A number of Midwestern governors attended the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference, the first stop the Nebraska delegation made. The Midwest US-Japan Association is comprised of nine Midwestern states, including Nebraska. It seeks to bolster international relationships with companies interested in investing in the central United States.
Ricketts says though security threats from North Korea are nothing new to the Japanese, the latest tests have shaken the country.
“Now, they’ve obviously been living with a North Korea there that has been unstable for a long time, but these missile launches are really causing a great deal of concern and anxiety in Japan,” according to Ricketts. “So, it is something that is above their normal level of confrontation going on there.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]