US-based Global Company. To Nagoya, where key players in the aerospace and automotive industries gather

Akihiro Oda
President & CEO, Argosy Japan Aerospace Materials K.K.

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  • US-based Global Company. To Nagoya, where key players in the aerospace and automotive industries gather

More than 15 distribution and sales offices on four continents

Q: Please tell us about your company's business.

We are a trading company established in 1988 and headquartered in the United States. We mainly manufacture and sell functional materials used in the aerospace and other industries, such as aircraft coatings and energy absorbers.

Currently, our main commercial product is an aluminum honeycomb core, a lightweight component for aircraft and automobiles. Another of our main products is the crash test barrier, a shock-absorbing material for automobile crash tests developed based on the technology cultivated through developing the aluminum honeycomb core.

For those who are not familiar with this industry, it may be difficult to imagine our products but we also handle aluminum beverage cans and other products that are commonly understood.

Q: How many offices does your company have around the world?

We have more than 15 distribution and sales offices on four continents. In particular, we have been focusing on the Asian civil aerospace market since the company’s establishment in 1988, starting with Taiwan, and have established bases in Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai. We also have offices in South Korea and Singapore.

From a business perspective, locating in Nagoya was an immediate decision

Q: You established your first office in Japan in Nagoya. Please tell us how that came about.

From a business perspective, locating in Nagoya was an immediate decision. The reason is simple: we have customers in the east, customers in the west, and many customers in the aviation and automobile industries in this region, which is right in the middle of Nagoya. We can expect growth and business opportunities in the future. The location also allows us to move between the east and west easily.

Additionally, using Nagoya Port as a logistics base is convenient. I was involved with the Port of Nagoya at my previous job, and I believe it is the number one port in Japan because it is accustomed to handling air equipment and is very flexible.

Q: What are some of the attractions of Nagoya that your company focused on when expanding into Japan?

Nagoya is home to key players in the aviation and automobile industries. It is attractive because it is a Mecca and concentration point for Japan's aviation and automotive industries. Our headquarters in the U.S. also closely monitors trends in the aviation industry, and I think they have high hopes for the rise of the aviation industry in the Chubu region of Japan.

I want to keep connections alive because, in this industry, interactions in unintended places can lead to business

Q: What do you think of Nagoya's attractions and impressions outside of the business aspect?

I have been to Nagoya hundreds of times on business trips and have always felt it was a comfortable place to live. Compared to my hometown of Chiba, the streets are wide and beautifully maintained. Also, the food is delicious and inexpensive. In the past, all of my juniors and colleagues who transferred to Nagoya have said they did not want to return.

Q: How did you receive support from the City of Nagoya and other organizations when setting up operations in Japan?

The rent subsidies provided by the City of Nagoya under the subsidy program for promoting foreign-affiliated companies to set up in Japan had a great impact and was very helpful. The Greater Nagoya Initiative Council also provided support for registration fees.

In addition to financial support, we also had the opportunity to promote our products at a booth set up jointly with Nagoya City at Nagoya NEPCON Japan 2022 as part of Nagoya City's post-entry business negotiation support program. In addition, we have had opportunities to connect with other companies and listen about their businesses at lectures by the Aichi-Nagoya Aerospace Consortium and roundtables by the INVEST IN AICHI-NAGOYA CONSORTIUM. Just tomorrow, I have another business meeting with a customer I connected with through a training session. I want to keep connections alive, because in this industry, interactions in unintended places can lead to business.

*Greater Nagoya Initiative Council (GNIC)/GNIC is an organization that provides one-stop support for overseas companies wishing to enter or expand business in Greater Nagoya to ensure smooth business development in the region. GNIC supports the start-up of foreign companies and other companies that want to expand their business into Aichi, Gifu, Mie, and Nagoya prefectures.

*Aichi-Nagoya Aerospace Consortium consisting of Aichi Prefecture, Nagoya City and other regional governments. It supports organizations such as the Central Japan Aerospace Industrial Technology Center, and prefectural universities. The consortium works to promote and continuously develop the aerospace industry in Aichi Prefecture through regional cooperation.

*The INVEST IN AICHI-NAGOYA CONSORTIUM was established by Aichi Prefecture and Nagoya City to support foreign and foreign-affiliated companies to expand and settle in the prefecture

Q: You have just established your Japan office. Can you tell us about your future goals and business development?

Our company's products are all niche and detailed. We would like to respond in detail to what large trading companies cannot do. While we are expanding globally, we pride ourselves on being rooted in local communities, so we would like to contribute to manufacturing in Japan's aerospace, automotive, and construction industries, with Nagoya as the axis of our business.