At the end of June we were given an opportunity to participate in a couple of events organized by the Western United States Agricultural Trade Administration (WUSATA) in conjunction with the United States Agriculture Trade Office (ATO) under the direction of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Department (FAS) located in Tokyo, Japan. The events took place first in Nagoya and then wrapped up in Tokyo. The purpose of the joint events was to assist, encourage and support American agricultural producers and growers who want to export their products to Japan. These events gave American farmers, Big Jim's Crystal Clear Montana Honey, beef jerky makers, jams and preserves makers, a popcorn guy, a bitters guy and a some really nice California pistachio people a chance to promote their products directly to retail, wholesale, hotel, restaurant, supermarket, convenience store, and institutional buyers. We were there to promote two new spirits, dbd-Gin and dbd-Vodka from The State of Utah and of course our wine and AI-rum.
Although all of the workers in our company here in Japan are Japanese our company is actually a US corporation which has a branch office in Tokyo and warehouses in Miyagi prefecture. This structure is a wee bit complicated, but as such, we are liable to Japanese taxation and have made tax payments to the Japanese government every year since our inception 8 years ago. When TSUNAMI happened in 2011 and our warehouse got hit, we couldn't qualify for any of the support plans provided by our government. This was because we are a foreign based company. Most small firms in Japan run in the red and are not paying taxes, however, they got the support package if they were victims. I'm glad so many people were helped and are still being helped, but I felt our government was not being fair. We had to limbed along with the loss for a long time and it was a really hard time for us and our Miyagi people lost every thing. This past experience made me not appreciate the fact that we are structured as an alien corporation. But then we couldn't have participated in this event if we were not an alien corporation, so now I think being an alien corporation isn't so bad. LOL.
Japan is a highly competitive sophisticated market. We depend on imported foods a lot and we spend more money eating good food than most other countries. Naturally, many food producers overseas want to get into this market and my company is not an exception. WUSATA and the ATO used their strong ties and connections, inviting big companies to this event which allowed us to be able to meet with those big potential customers which normally a company of our size has no idea of how to approach. It was a great event and I am hopeful that we can get the best out of it going forward. Well, the products we have are all good, so I guess it's all on me to catch whatever we can.