At the end of last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis welcomed a diplomatic delegation from Japan to Florida and provided the keynote address for the opening ceremony of the Southeastern United States – Japan Conference (SEUS-Japan).
Throughout the day, DeSantis met with leading officials from Japan, including Koji Tomita, the Japanese ambassador to the United States, as well as key Japanese business leaders. DeSantis expressed his interest in maintaining and growing Florida’s strategic partnership with Japan as a country with the shared values of democracy, human rights, and a belief in the free market economy.
Japan is Florida’s third largest bilateral trading partner, with annual trade surpassing $7.7 billion annually. Florida is also home to over 200 Japanese firms that invest billions into the state’s economy. DeSantis said he believes that this partnership can grow even further with the potential for direct flights between Japan and Florida which would enhance the people-to-people ties that allow entrepreneurship and tourism to flourish.
DeSantis also emphasized Florida’s commitment to opposing the Chinese Communist Party, which continues to demonstrate aggression and belligerence to other nations in East Asia and the Pacific. Last year, DeSantis signed legislation to combat Chinese influence in Florida, with a focus on protecting intellectual property and universities. In September, DeSantis proposed additional legislative measures to counteract China’s malign influence, including protecting Florida’s cybersecurity, preventing Chinese companies from purchasing agricultural land and land near military bases, and making sure Chinese companies cannot donate to state colleges or universities.
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