NEWS-LEDGER — FEB 15, 2012 –
By Steve Marschke
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.
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.”
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.
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Copyright News-Ledger 2012