NAJAS/KKC Business Speaker Series 29 
Charlotte, North Carolina
Minoru Yoshinaga, President, Toray Industries (America), Inc.
Brian Woodall, Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology

September 22, 2017

The NAJAS/KKC Business Speaker Series was held in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 22, 2017 in cooperation with the Japan-America Society of North Carolina. Mr. Minoru Yoshinaga, Chief Representative for Toray Americas & President of Toray Industries (America), Inc. and Dr. Brian Woodall, Professor of Political Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology were invited as speakers.

Mr. Yoshinaga gave an introductory overview of Toray’s business in the Americas and history in the fiber business, leading to its development of carbon fiber as a strong but lightweight composite material capable of replacing steel products in structural applications. He described how laminated carbon fiber products now constitute a significant portion of the structure of major aircraft models and specifically the partnership with Boeing and detailed expansion in the Carolinas. He also shared Toray’s Strategic Business Areas and how business strategies are used to set up different group-wide projects such their Life Innovation business. He spoke about the many uses for Toray materials including their HEATTECH products in collaboration with UNIQLO.

Dr. Woodall noted that the election result was unexpected in Japan and how Japan leaders are working to better understand the new U.S. administration. He discussed the many changes in Prime Ministers in Japan and the impacts of such changes. He also explained about the impacts of U.S. changes in support for the TTP and other trade negotiations. He concluded by discussing the potential implications of North Korea’s nuclear program and the U.S. response.