Feb 222012
 

Nippon Shokken Chairman Kazuhiko Ozawa (left) accepts a gift from Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. (News-Ledger photo)

NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 15, 2012 –

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

A groundbreaking in Southport on Thursday, Feb. 9, took on a notably Japanese flair.

Company officials from Nippon Shokken – a firm that produces Japanese seasonings and food products – joined local officials in a ceremony to celebrate the start of construction of a new, 70,000-square foot factory at 2970 Ramco Street in the Southport Business Park.

Local dignitaries gathered in a tent at the spot. The festivities included an exchange of gifts between Mayor Christopher Cabaldon and company chairman Kazuhiko Ozawa, amid bows and smiles. Ozawa presented the mayor with several gifts, including a set of porcelain figures, and Cabaldon responded with presentation of a painting of the iconic Tower Bridge.

Nippon Shokken reps joined local officials including Mayor Cabaldon and Yolo County Supervisor Mike McGowan (center and center-right, respectively) in shoveling sand to launch the construction project. (News-Ledger photo)

The mayor’s remarks – translated into Japanese for guests – included a compliment to the company and its products.

“I had the opportunity to be in Japan in December, and had the chance not only to try many of the Nippon Shokken products,” said Cabaldon, “but also to speak with local leaders and those in the country. I was not surprised to learn in Japan the deep honor and respect the leaders of Nippon Shokken hold with the people in Japan.”

One of three gifts presented to the Mayor of West Sacramento by Nippon Shokken Chairman Kazuhiko Ozawa. The gifts may later go on display at city hall, said a City of West Sacramento official. (News-Ledger photo)

Cabaldon also put in an endorsement for the flavor of the company’s products.

Through a translator, Chairman Ozawa said that one of the reasons his company chose the Southport site was a “bounty of quality water, which is essential for production of seasonings, and to have the utmost land of well-built infrastructure.”

  The new factory will help the company expand its U.S. presence. It expects to open in March, 2013, with a hundred employees and a production capacity of 2,400 tons per year – expanding to 300 workers by 2015.

“One of my favorite actions of Nippon Shokken was to identify two of our West Sacramento high school students who speak Japanese fluently,” said Cabaldon. The company then hired these two –  and plan to train them in Japan to return and serve in management positions at the new West Sacramento plant.

Artist’s rendering of future Nippon Shokken plant in West Sacramento

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Copyright News-Ledger 2012

Steve Marschke

Steve Marschke