Japan remains Ohio’s top foreign investor

Japanese direct investment in Ohio includes 423 Ohio-based facilities that employ 65,690, a new annual survey from the

the Consulate General of Japan in Detroit said Friday.

The survey said that although there was a slight decline in the overall facility number in the past year, 7,992 more residents were employed in Ohio by Japanese companies than in 2011. The survey added that Japan continues to be the leading foreign investor in the Buckeye state, with investment heavily concentrated in Ohio’s automotive sector, with manufacturing jobs accounting for 56 of total employment.

Honda, for example, is Ohio’s largest foreign employer with more than 13,500. The automaker has been adding production jobs, and has announced plans to build a high-end sports car at a new plant to be built in Ohio.

In 2012, there was a net gain of 4,085 manufacturing jobs in Ohio, representing a 12 percent increase over the previous year.

Japanese investment shows up in 61 of Ohio’s 88 counties and is particularly concentrated in central Ohio, or the Columbus area; southwest Ohio, the Cincinnati-Dayton area; and northeast Ohio, or Cleveland-Akron area, the survey said.

“Japanese automakers and their suppliers continue to boost investments in their R&D, sales, as well as manufacturing operations in the great state of Ohio, resulting in an impressive 14 percent gain in year-over-year hiring,” said Consul General Kuninori Matsuda, Japan’s chief diplomat in Detroit.

“These companies have rebounded admirably from the challenges of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, and as Ohio’s economy and business climate continue to strengthen, so too does their commitment to producing, employing, and investing locally.”

Matsuda said Japanese companies are diversifying into Ohio’s chemical, high-tech, and pharmaceutical sectors. He added: “The state’s promising shale gas energy sector is also an area in which I anticipate greater Japanese investment. ”

Other major foreign investors in Ohio include Germany, home to the Aldi supermarket chain, with 6,000 Ohio employees; Canada, home of convenience store operator Alimentation Couch-Tard, with more than 4,000 Ohio workers; and the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, home of Reed Elsevier, the parent company of Miami Twp.-based LexisNexis, with about 2,500 Ohio employees, according to JobsOhio, a state-sponsored economic development office.