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Pence visits Subaru officials, plants tree in Japan

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On his fifth day of an Asian trade mission, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence visited the headquarters of Subaru, the automotive division of Fuji Heavy Industries in Ota, Japan.

It was one stop of several Pence made to Japanese companies that do major business in Indiana.

Pence toured the Subaru facilities and met with leaders of the company for lunch to discuss hiring possibilities. Subaru announced in May that it has plans to invest $450 million to build the new Impreza vehicle in Indiana at the Lafayette plant.

Subaru employs more than 3,600 at the Lafayette plant. It's 832-acre corporate campus there has been declared a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

“Thousands of hardworking Hoosiers have jobs today because of Subaru’s commitment to Indiana,” Pence said in a prepared statement. “On this trade mission, I’ve made it a top priority to personally thank Japanese companies for choosing Indiana out of a world of options. With our favorable business environment and a workforce highly skilled in advanced manufacturing, Subaru executives have noticed that Indiana is a state that works for business.”

Pence also met with executives from TOA Industries, which has a manufacturing facility in Mooresville, and Shirgeru Co., the parent company of Heartland Automotive, which has operations in Greencastle and Lafayette.

Shigeru’s Greencastle location was established in 1987 to manufacture dashboards for Subaru and has grown to also include production for the Camry line.

Shigeru executives and Pence discussed expansion plans. The company is expected to soon announce plans to create hundreds of jobs for Hoosiers at its Lafayette facility.

To show appreciation of Shigeru’s 26 years of service to Hoosiers, Pence planted a black pine tree next to Indiana’s state tree – a tulip popular that former Gov. Robert Orr planted in 1987 – on the company’s Ota campus.  The black pine is Gunma Prefecture’s state tree.

“Today we planted a symbolic tree at Shigeru, a company with rich Hoosier heritage dating more than 25 years,” Pence said. “The tree represents the strength of Indiana’s deep relationship with this company, a bond that has created hundreds of good jobs for Hoosiers. Just like this tree will grow, we are committed to continuing to cultivate and grow our strong friendship and economic ties with Shigeru in the years ahead.”

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