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Economic and Cultural Relations with Japan

Utah and the capital of Salt Lake City are a major crossroads in the American Rocky Mountain West, and a center of education, technology, mining, and tourism. There are five spectacular national parks in Utah, along with seven national monuments, while Salt Lake City is well known for hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics. Utah is home to excellent ski resorts and is popular as a destination for a variety of outdoor recreation.

Economically, in 2011 Japan was Utah's 11th largest export market, and ranked eighth for imports into the state. Major export items to Japan include gold and molybdenum, electronics and semiconductors, food and agricultural products. Several Japanese and domestic companies have operations in Utah with extensive business dealings with Japan.

Utah and Japan enjoy deep and wide cultural relations, including excellent relations within the local Japanese and Japanese-American community. This is due in part to numerous opportunities for exchange developed in relation to activities of the Mormon church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), which is based in Utah. Excellent Japan-related cultural and language education programs exist at several higher education institutions in Utah, offering many opportunities for bilateral exchange. Salt Lake City, Utah and Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture are sister cities, participate in mutual cultural exchange every year. The site of the former Topaz Relocation Center in western Utah has been named a National Historic Landmark, and the Topaz Museum works to preserve its legacy.

The state also has a very active Japanese American Citizen League with several branches statewide, involved in a wide range of activities. Salt Lake City is the site of the Nihon Matsuri festival each year in the month of April, and maintains a vibrant sister city relationship with the city of Matsumoto, Japan.


Japanese Residents

There are approximately 3,292 Japanese residents in Utah (as of October 2011). Of those, many residents live in Salt Lake City, as well as in the nearby cities of Provo and Orem.

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