For a Japanese plastics processing company, selecting a site for its first U.S. operation could have been quite a challenge. But having a sister helps. Aska Co., a plastics company in Yashiro, Japan, looked at several possible sites in Washington state, but settled on the Port of Olympia's Airdustrial Center in Tumwater after a visit to Japan by Olympia's Yashiro Sister City Association. Aska will build a 9,000-square-foot injection molding plant to produce plastic caps, lids, eating utensils and components for writing instruments.
Dennis Risdon, business development manager for the Economic Development Council of Thurston County, said Aska plans to import two Sumitomo injection molding presses to start the plant, with a third to be added later. Auxiliary equipment and raw materials will be purchased in the United States. Risdon said no costs for the project are available as yet.
Aska is a subsidiary of Kyoto Kasei Plastics Co. Ltd., which has its headquarters and one of its six manufacturing facilities in Hyogo Prefecture, an area similar in size and character to the Tumwater area.
The company leased two acres from the port and is expected to exercise an option on two more adjacent acres. Aska will employ 15-20 people when the plant is completed early this summer, however Risdon said the company has long-range plans to expand.
``This is the first Japanese investment in our county,'' said Risdon, ``but we hope to use this siting to promote ourselves to other companies in Japan.''