Gov. Ron DeSantis meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Tokyo during international trade mission, April 24.

Gov. Ron DeSantis meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi in Tokyo during international trade mission, April 24.

There's a lot of economic opportunity for Japanese investment in Florida because of its strong economic growth, Gov. Ron DeSantis said during an international trade mission roundtable in Tokyo, Japan, where he met with members of the Japan Business Federation.

He later met with Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and was honored at a formal state dinner.

Japan was the first stop in a multi-country trade mission the governor is leading this week, where he'll be meeting with business and political leaders in South Korea, Israel and the U.K.

If Florida were its own country it would be the 13th largest economy in the world at over $1.23 trillion. "We're the present," DeSantis said, but Florida's also the future, he said, because more people and businesses are moving there than anywhere else in the U.S.

"We've had a really significant migration of productive Americans' wealth out of states that are governed more in line with high tax, weak on crime, too restrictive on COVID policies, and over the last four or five years we've seen those states really hemorrhage people," he said. "Even states that had always gained populations like California have hemorrhaged productive people."

As a result, DeSantis said, Florida's the fastest growing state in the U.S. It's also the number one state for net in-migration every year since he's been governor, he said. In the year after COVID-19, Florida had $24 billion in adjusted gross income move into Florida, followed by Texas' $6.5 billion.

Compared to ten years ago, the financial services industry is migrating to Florida at "a pretty impressive number," he said. Commercial space has also "exploded," as well as manufacturing because of Florida's strong business climate and workforce development initiatives.

Florida also leads the U.S. in new business formations "because of our pro-business and pro-freedom policies that drive the economy forward and attract business investment from across the globe," he said.

"There's never been a time when more wealth has moved into a single state than there has in Florida over the last few years," DeSantis added. "That just means there's more opportunities. We have a lot of businesses that are expanding in Florida. We're also the number one state for tourism in the United States."

The governor and NTT Data, a Tokyo-based information technology and consulting company, also announced a new partnership to provide one-week internships to Florida university students at its Tokyo headquarters. Students can interact with business executives and learn about NTT Data's multi-faceted global business through the program.

Japan is the 6th largest foreign investor in Florida, with holdings totaling over $5.2 billion. Over 200 Japanese companies based in Florida employ more than 22,000 Floridians.

Last year, Japan imported roughly $636 million in goods from Florida.

The next stop on DeSantis' trade mission is South Korea.

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