Gov. David Ige is leading a delegation to Japan to encourage travel to Hawaii.
The governor’s office said in a news release that he will meet with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida; the Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry; the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and travel industry partners to restore the relationship between Hawaii and Japan as the much of the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Japan is our most important international source of travelers to Hawaiʻi, and we look forward to rekindling our relationship,” Ige said in a statement. “Overall, international travel is much less than it was pre-pandemic. As our state focuses more on destination management over getting more visitors to the islands, we recognize that Japanese visitors are a priority for us because they tend to engage in the community, they’re respectful of the Hawaiian culture and of our environment. We would like to welcome them back to the islands.”
He is scheduled to return to Honolulu on Friday. Lt. Gov. Josh Green will serve as acting governor.
Ige will be accompanied by First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige; Mike McCartney, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; John De Fries, president of the Hawaii Tourism Authority; George Kam, chair of the Hawaii Tourism Authority; and House Speaker Scott Saiki.
He will also meet with leaders in Japan to discuss economic development and renewable energy.
“Japan is committed to the United Nation’s sustainable development goals which includes clean energy. They want to learn from Hawaiʻi, which is a leader in renewable energy, and the first state in the U.S. to set a 100% renewable energy goal,” Ige said in a statement. “Both Hawaiʻi and Japan would benefit from joint research, dialogue, and exchange, and working together to achieve our goals more quickly and efficiently.”