Four Japanese government and trade officials visited the Higuchi Biosciences Centers of Excellence at Kansas University this morning and were to meet local business officials at a noon luncheon.
Local business leaders hope today's visit will lead eventually to trade relationships between Lawrence and Japanese pharmaceutical firms.
The visit is also designed to help pave the way for a trip Lawrence representatives will make to Japan at the end of this month, said Gary Toebben, president of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce.
Toebben will accompany Elias Michaelis, director of the centers and chairman of KU's department of pharmacology and toxicology, on a 10-day tour of Japan that will begin Oct. 31. The trip, also sponsored by the Kansas Department of Commerce, will involve meeting Japanese pharmaceutical executives in Tokyo and Osaka to let them know about the Higuchi centers.
TODAY'S meeting was set up by the chamber and by the Kansas Department of Commerce.
The four Japanese visitors are: Ted Kusajima, chief executive director of the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO) office in Chicago, and Masato Inuyama, public affairs director for JETRO; Hatsuo Fujishima, vice counsel for economic and political affairs, of the Japanese consulate general's office in Kansas City, Mo., and Todd Niiyama, the executive director of the Japanese chamber of commerce in Kansas City, Mo.
The visitors met at the biosciences centers on KU's west campus this morning and with several KU representatives, Toebben said. They were to visit the Center for Bioanalytical Research and the Center for Drug Delivery Research.
TOEBBEN SAID the group also planned to tour the community and have lunch at the Alvamar Country Club before leaving the city.
Toebben said the visitors were extended an invitation by state officials and by the chamber.
"We thought it would be a good idea to do this before we take the trip to Japan in two weeks to call on pharmaceutical companies," he said. Toebben said the state participated in a meeting in Chicago hosted by JETRO. Bill Martin, the chamber's economic development director, participated in that trip.