Log in

Log in

Never Miss an Event!

Follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our email newsletter for updates and reminders about our upcoming events and opportunities. 

  • 27 Mar 2024 10:28 AM | Anonymous

    Made in Alabama: Report: 2023 growth projects to inject $6.4 billion into Alabama communities

    Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced over $6.4 billion in investments from companies launching or expanding operations in 2023, reinforcing the state's robust economic growth and job creation. The efforts resulted in 8,095 new jobs across 43 counties, with key sectors like automotive, metals, and information technology driving growth. Rural Alabama attracted significant investments, and foreign direct investment played a crucial role, contributing almost $3 billion and nearly 3,400 new jobs. Top global and domestic brands, such as Miele and Sierra Pacific, continue to choose Alabama for expansion. Secretary of Commerce Ellen McNair emphasizes the state's commitment to creating 21st-century jobs and developing a comprehensive economic development strategy for the future. Governor Ivey highlights the importance of innovation and technology in sustaining Alabama's economic momentum, driving the need for new strategies and bold approaches.

    Click here to see the 2023 Alabama New & Expanding Industry Report.

  • 12 Mar 2024 1:35 PM | Anonymous

    Business Alabama: Leadership change at MTM in Madison

    Mazda Toyota Manufacturing has announced a change of leadership at its plant in Madison.

    Founding Plant President Masashi Aihara, who took the helm of the new plant in 2018 as part of his 40-year career with Mazda Motor Corp., is stepping aside at the end of March.

    Mazda veteran Mitsunobu Mukaida will become plant president.

    Mazda shares a plant with Toyota, where Mazda CX-50 and Toyota Corolla Cross are made.

    “It has been a great challenge to start an automotive facility of this size from cotton fields, to where MTM is now,” Aihara said. “We received much support from the local governments, communities, suppliers, our team members and other stakeholders that has led to our success — two new lines, two shifts, producing two vehicles. My hope is to leave the same kind of positive impact on MTM and Alabama, that they have had on me and on my family over the past five years.”

    Mukaida has been with Mazda 35 years, most recently as executive officer in charge of global production. He has also served as CEO and president of Mazda Powertrain Manufacturing in Thailand.

    “My mission at MTM as a joint venture plant is to further realize the synergy between Toyota and Mazda through their respective strengths, and to develop it as a ‘best in town’ facility that is loved by our team members and the local community,” said Mukaida. “I will continue to work with determination to put down roots in Huntsville.”

  • 11 Mar 2024 10:48 AM | Anonymous

    Business Alabama: Toyota marks record for engine production

    The Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama (TMMAL) engine plant in Huntsville assembled 770,000 engines in 2023, a record production number for the facility. The plant is a critical part of Toyota’s supply chain and has the capacity to build up to 900,000 engines per year. To keep up with production demands, TMMAL has also seen a significant bump in hiring and currently employs more than 2,000 people.

    “Toyota Alabama supplies over one-third of all engines for Toyota’s North American operations,” points out Jason Puckett, president of Toyota Alabama. Puckett has overseen production and administration functions at TMMAL since 2021. Prior to that, he served as vice president of administration and manufacturing at Toyota Indiana, where his Toyota career started in 1997.

    “Every line at Toyota Alabama assembles engines for both hybrid and combustion vehicles. It’s our 2,000 team members and their skills that have paved the way for this plant to play a critical role in Toyota’s electrified future,” Puckett says.

    The 1.3 million-square-foot facility has four assembly lines that produce four-cylinder + HEV engines, 2.4 turbo + HEV engines and twin-turbo VS + HEV engines that can be found under the hoods of RAV4, Corolla, Corolla Cross, Highlander, Sienna, Tundra and Sequoia vehicles. It is also the only Toyota plant globally to build four-cylinder, V-6 and V-8 engines under one roof, and it is the only plant in North America that builds the Twin Turbo V-6 engine.

  • 21 Feb 2024 2:35 PM | Anonymous

    Made in Alabama: Toyota Alabama kicks off production on new engine line after $222 million project

    HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — Toyota Alabama announced today that it has started production on its i-FORCE 2.4-liter turbo engine line at its Huntsville engine plant, culminating a $222 million investment project launched in 2022.

    Toyota Alabama said the new engine line will provide powertrains for the all-new Tacoma pickup and reinforces its commitment to diversified powertrains that align with customer demand.

    “The completion of the i-FORCE 2.4-liter turbo engine line marks a significant milestone for Toyota Alabama and further supports job stability for our 2,000 employees,” said Jason Puckett, president of Toyota Alabama.

    “Now, with Tacoma offering a hybrid option, every line at our plant includes engines for hybrid vehicles,” he added. “It’s our team and their skills that have paved the way for this plant to play a critical role in Toyota’s efficient and electrified future.”

    Ellen McNair, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the new engine line’s production launch is the latest in a long line of milestones for the Toyota engine plant, which opened in Huntsville in 2003.

    “Toyota Alabama has an extensive track record of success, and we’re proud of the workforce in Huntsville that has helped make all of that possible,” McNair said.

    “In addition, Toyota is a great community supporter and a crown jewel in Huntsville’s dynamic economy.”

    Read the whole article

  • 11 Dec 2023 11:46 AM | Anonymous

    Application for 2024 KKC Japan Study Tour open to Mar 1 for grade 6-12 social studies teachers!


    Application Due: March 1, 2024

    Dates: June 24 (Mon) -July 2 (Tue), 2024 (Tentative)

    Program Type: Education Exchange, Public Affairs

    Contact: Email:

    Contact Phone: 412-856-8608, Ms. Katsuko Shellhammer

    Keizai Koho Center (KKC), in cooperation with the National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS), will offer the “KKC Study Tour to Japan 2024” for U.S. and Canadian social studies teachers.

    Since 1980, over 700 U.S. and Canadian social studies teachers have taken part in “KKC Study Tour to Japan”. The program aims to deepen participants’ understanding of Japan and contribute to international mutual understanding across the Pacific. Their experiences and findings in Japan have significant value to their students, who will build future ties with Japan.

    Dates of the Program

    June 24 (Mon) -July 2 (Tue), 2024 (Tentative)

    The contents will be developed to provide vivid and enjoyable experiences which may include:

    • Visits to Japanese schools and Japanese companies,
    • Meetings with scholars and/or experts on political, economic, social issues and the education system,
    • Cultural and fun experiences,
    • A seminar with an audience of business people.

    Costs covered by KKC

    KKC provides round trip air transportation from the participants’ home city to Tokyo, as well as accommodations, ground transportation and meals associated with the program.

    Guidelines at before applying at Help for societies/teachers c/o while reflections from participants are at

  • 30 Nov 2023 4:15 PM | Anonymous

    Made in Alabama: New $30 million EV training center will support auto industry growth

    MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Governor Kay Ivey announced today that Alabama is building a $30 million workforce training center in Decatur that will focus on electric vehicles and emerging technologies in order to position the state’s auto industry for the next chapter of its growth.

    The facility will be located on the campus of the Alabama Robotics Technology Park, a unique $73 million center operated by AIDT that helps companies train workers on advanced R&D and manufacturing technologies.

    “Alabama is already a recognized leader in workforce development, and this training center concentrating on EVs and new technologies will add an important dimension to our capabilities,” Governor Ivey said.

    “This investment shows that we’re fully committed to making Alabama an even greater force in the global auto industry in the future.”

    AIDT Director Ed Castile said design work has begun on the planned facility, which is projected to span 40,000 square feet at Robotics Park, where there is room for growth on 40 available acres.

    The training center is expected to be operational in 18 to 24 months.

    “Our main goal is to help the state’s automakers continue to grow during the transition to electric powertrains and assist them as they embrace new technologies that are evolving all the time,” said Castile, who also serves as Deputy Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

    “We just want to make sure we have workforce that has the ability to thrive in this new environment, so it’s a natural extension of what we do at Robotics Park.” ...

    Read the whole article

  • 10 Nov 2023 8:10 PM | Anonymous

    Made in Alabama: Long-standing Alabama-Japan bonds on full display at celebration

    BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Six Japanese companies embarking on investment projects in Alabama were recognized Thursday night at a ceremony that highlighted the deep economic and cultural connections that link the Southeastern state and the Asian nation.

    The Japan-America Society of Alabama (JASA) dinner at the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa brought together leaders from government, economic development, education and culture in support of the Alabama-Japan relationship.

    Birmingham’s Mark Jackson, who serves as Honorary Consul General of Japan, said last night’s event highlighted the multi-layered importance of Alabama’s relationship with Japan.

    “From manufacturing, financial and insurance services to educational exchanges and cultural events, Japan has become a major part of Alabama’s landscape,” Jackson said. “Our leaders understand the importance of this relationship, and I am happy to work with them as it continues to expand.

    “When you consider the economic impact of 80+ Japanese companies on a state of approximately 5 million people, you understand why Alabama is at the forefront of leading the global economy,” he added.

    Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said many communities across the state have benefited immensely from the long-lasting relationship with Japan.

    “Over the years, I have developed an unshakable admiration for the Japanese business culture, which places an emphasis on teamwork, quality, continuous improvement, innovation, environmental stewardship and honor,” Secretary Canfield said.

    “The Japanese companies operating in Alabama have brought an authentic community spirit and have shown themselves, time and time again, to be great corporate citizens,” he added. ...

    Read the whole article

  • 12 Oct 2023 4:58 PM | Anonymous

    Made in Alabama: Sec. Canfield heads Alabama team in Tokyo for SEUS-Japan 45 summit

    Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield is leading an Alabama delegation at an international conference in Tokyo this week that seeks to enhance the robust economic and cultural ties between seven Southeastern states and Japan.

    The 45th annual joint meeting of the Southeast U.S.-Japan and the Japan-Southeast associations, known as SEUS Japan, officially begins today and features a full agenda of speeches, high-level panel discussions and networking opportunities on Friday.

    Secretary Canfield said the annual SEUS Japan gathering allows members of the Alabama delegation to reinforce bonds that have been established over decades and to explore pathways to future collaborations.

    “The long-standing partnership between Japan and Alabama continues to spark economic growth, create opportunity, and foster deep friendships,” he said. “That’s why I am looking forward to seeing this relationship blossom for decades to come.”

    Secretary Canfield, who will make remarks to the group on Friday, said Japan is one of Alabama’s most important global partners.

    Today, an estimated 90 Japanese companies have established operations in Alabama, according to data from the Alabama Department of Commerce. The roster of Japanese companies includes global names such as Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Daikin, Rheem and Dai-Ichi Life.

    “The impact of Japanese investment in Alabama has been massive,” Secretary Canfield said. “Back in 1999, Honda announced plans to open an auto assembly plant in Alabama, and since that milestone, nearly $10 billion in Japanese investment has flowed into the state.”


    The theme of the SEUS-Japan 45 joint meeting is “Continued Success through Partnership & Innovation for a Sustainable Future.”

    Panel discussions on Friday will focus on the resiliency of the U.S.-Japanese economic partnership amid global turbulence and how to properly position workforces to support emerging technologies and new sustainability initiatives.

    In addition, Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, will address attendees, as will two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Takuma Sato, the first Asian driver to win the celebrated race.

    SEUS-Japan 45 also features a reception and gala dinner, as well as a networking event.

    The Alabama delegation in Tokyo is composed of community leaders, company officials and economic development specialists from across the state. Ed Castile, director of AIDT and Alabama’s workforce development guru, and Christina Stimpson, Commerce’s international trade expert, also are on the trip.

    “The SEUS-Japan summit is a valuable event for us,” said Don Smith, executive director of the St. Clair County Economic Development Council, who is on the trip.

    “It provides incredible data and networking opportunities as well as creating a base camp for us to visit the top leadership positions making decisions regarding our local Alabama companies.”


    Stimpson, who serves as director of Commerce’s Office of International Trade, said the commercial ties with Japan have become an increasingly important economic driver for Alabama.

    “The Japanese-Alabama relationship is stronger than ever. Not only do we have significant foreign direct investment from Japan, but for the first time ever Alabama exports to Japan last year reached over $1 billion,” Stimpson said.

    “This is a 42% increase from 2021 and represents the largest percentage increase among our top trading partners.”

    Besides Alabama, the states represented at SEUS-Japan are Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi and Florida.

  • 21 Aug 2023 10:31 AM | Anonymous

    Many Alabamians are familiar with the word “Satsuma”, either as a reference to the City of Satsuma in Mobile County, or to its namesake, the Satsuma orange, which was grown in Alabama beginning in 1878 after Emperor Meiji of Japan presented a Satsuma tree as a gift. In fact, farming of Satsuma oranges in the Mobile area was a thriving business in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s until Satsuma trees were damaged by the combination of cold weather and a disease that affected fruit trees.

    There is another type of Satsuma that originated long before Satsuma trees were introduced to Alabama. Around the year 1600 a type of clay pottery called “Satsuma” began production in the Satsuma Province in southern Kyushu, Japan. The original Satsuma pottery, which was plain and dark in color, was succeeded in the mid-1800’s by elaborately decorated Satsuma that was made in cities throughout Japan. It was made until around 1930, and during its 80 years of production was exported from Japan to countries around the world. Once the production of authentic Japanese Satsuma ended, because it had become so popular in export markets, other countries, including China, began making a lower quality version of Satsuma that continued until the 1960’s.

    Earlier this year JASA was contacted by Mr. John Daane of Milton, Florida, who was searching for a Japanese organization that would be willing to own and care for the Satsuma pottery his parents had collected between the 1950’s and 2015 when they lived in The Netherlands, South Africa and New Zealand. On behalf of his family’s estate, it was Mr. Daane’s wish that a Japanese organization would care for and display his parents’ Satsuma, and with that commitment, JASA is now the proud owner of a 63-piece collection of authentic Satsuma, most of it now over 100 years old.

    JASA first introduced the collection at a recent Board of Directors meeting, and it has since been displayed at other JASA events. The plan is for it to be on temporary display at JASA member companies, universities or other organizations. Anyone interested in hosting all or part of the collection should contact JASA President Mark Brown or Honorary Consul General Mark Jackson.

    JASA is grateful to the Daane family for their donation, and we look forward to many years of JASA members and friends being able to see and appreciate the incredible beauty and quality of authentic Satsuma!

  • 10 Aug 2023 5:19 PM | Anonymous

    AL. com: Toyota donating $6.7 million to Huntsville schools

    Toyota USA is donating up to $6.7 million to Huntsville City Schools with the goal of boosting the industrial workforce through STEM education programs as well as providing career support for young classroom teachers.

    It’s part of a national educational Driving Possibilities program by Toyota in areas where its plants are located. The announcement Thursday took place at Jemison High School – just four miles south of Toyota Motor Manufacturing’s sprawling facility in north Huntsville where as many as 900,000 engines are produced annually.

    “It’s a unique program in that we are not necessarily going wide with our funding and doing things district wide,” said Bekah Schmidt, a corporate communications analyst for Toyota. “We’re going very deep in a few schools and kind of getting to the root of how can we best serve the students and make an impact. And so we have been working on this project for over a year and working with Huntsville City Schools to identify some opportunities where we could have collective impact.”

    Specifically, the funding will help support a new industrial tech program at the planned Career Tech Center to be built in north Huntsville on the same campus as a new central office for the school system off Memorial Parkway between Sparkman Drive and Max Luther Drive.

    “Toyota understands the importance of training and preparing our students to fill high-tech, 21st Century jobs by the time they graduate,” Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth said in a press release announcing the donation. “Alabama consistently ranks among the nation’s leaders in economic development and industrial recruitment, and thanks to generous corporate partners like Toyota, we have the tools necessary to maintain that top ranking for many years to come.”

    Read the whole article here

Contact Us

+1 (205) 703-0960


2081 Columbiana Rd #10

Vestavia Hills, AL 35216

Copyright (c) 2019 Japan-America Society of Alabama

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software