West Virginia politics is at another crossroads. With the retirement of longtime Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the landscape of West Virginia politics is going to change.
While both candidates continue to discuss why she is the better choice for constituents when it comes to coal, another major issue has been overlooked by both candidates. How does either candidate plan on continuing the relationship West Virginia has with the nation of Japan?
Except for two of the largest operating companies (Toyota and NGK), our relationship with Japan is mostly forgotten by West Virginia residents. But there are 20 Japanese companies operating in the state and many Japanese nationals working here, right alongside of us.
Our relationship with Japan is an important one and takes someone with a background in its culture, its politics, and its business practices.
Sen. Rockefeller fostered a relationship with our ally and West Virginia benefited many times over. But where do our candidates plan on taking that relationship?
You would think the websites of their campaigns would give details about their stances on particular policies, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for Congresswoman Capito’s site.
However, Tennant’s website gives a decent break down on issues. It references “Working with state leaders to create manufacturing jobs using the success of the Toyota plant in Buffalo as a model.”
It seems the candidates have overlooked this aspect of economic development and job creation. It’s so much more. It’s about mutual respect and admiration between two nations.
Japan is a true ally and friend. When you consider that just over a half century ago we were engaged in a horrendous war, Japan and the United States are models of what peace and working together can do for countries and their people.
We must continue to learn and work together to advance both of our interests.
It’s a valid inquiry that affects us all. West Virginians deserve an answer.
West Virginia is very lucky to have had such a prestigious senator to represent us, along with an outstanding team of Americans and Japanese in the West Virginia Development Office.
As Sen. Rockefeller has continued to state, “In a vastly unstable and increasingly dangerous world, the United States has no more important friend and ally than Japan.”
Summers-Brown is president of Bricks Without Straw.