VOX POPULI: Why Did Toyota Move to Texas?

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By GEORGE NAKANO

Why did Toyota move to Texas? Before one attempts to answer that question, one needs to know why they located in Torrance in the first place.

For the Japanese corporations, the Japanese banks are the most important business partners. There are abundant numbers in the Los Angeles basin. Japanese American attorneys and business consultants as well as the Japanese ancillary businesses also play an important role.

To the Japanese CEOs and executives, it is a balance between profits and quality of life. It is important to them to have counterparts in their social life, Japanese cultural programs, Japanese restaurants and a vibrant Japanese community near where they live. These are the quality-of-life issues that are important to many Japanese executives.

For the non-Japanese executives, the business aspect of profit may take a higher priority, while the Japanese cultural ties take a lower priority. For a large Japanese corporation such as Toyota, it is only a matter of time before a non-Japanese becomes the CEO of the North American operation. This happened with Nissan and more recently with Toyota. The plans are already known within the small upper inner circle and it was executed when the new CEO was announced.

It is patently false to say that the City of Torrance had the resources to keep Toyota here. Torrance’s annual budget of $168 million is no match for what the State of Texas offered Toyota. Texas offered Toyota $40 million just for moving expenses and many more millions are on the table. Torrance is not in a position to cut back services and employees, including police officers and firefighters, to offer financial support to Toyota.

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George Nakano served in the State Assembly from 1998 to 2004 and on the Torrance City Council from 1984 to 1998. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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