Gov. Ricketts addresses the audience at last year’s MWJA Conference

Registration is open until August 29 for the 50th Annual Conference of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association (MWJA), being held this September 9-11 in Omaha.

MWJA and its partner organization — the Japan Midwest-U.S. Association — are the preeminent organizations dedicated to promoting economic relationships between the Midwestern U.S. and Japan. MWJA’s U.S. member states include Nebraska, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The annual conference is considered to be the pinnacle forum for discussions about Japanese/Midwest economic relations. The conference alternates each year between Tokyo and a Midwestern city.

Registration for the conference can be accessed at

Approximately 400 dignitaries, diplomats and corporate executives are expected to be in attendance this year. This includes Governor Pete Ricketts; the governors of Midwestern states and Japanese prefectures; American and Japanese cabinet secretaries; and other government and corporate officials. Top representatives from numerous Japanese companies — including Kawasaki, Marubeni, Toshiba, Kikkoman, Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi and others — will also be in attendance.

The conference is being held at the Hilton Omaha. Along with multiple speakers and plenary sessions, highlights will include a welcome luncheon at Kaneko — Omaha’s internationally renowned arts and cultural center, founded by Japanese ceramics artist Jun Kaneko — and a farm-to-table themed banquet featuring Nebraska beef and produce.

A 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner by Kawasaki Heavy Industries will be held at Durham Museum on September 10, with an Anniversary Cocktail Reception featuring Heritage Railcars by Union Pacific.

The conference website, which includes a full event schedule, can be found at

More information about this year’s event can be obtained through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s (DED) Daniel Jackson at 402-802-5317 or For questions concerning registration, contact DED’s Lori Shaal at 402-471-3780 or