TOKYO, JAPAN (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gov. David Ige met with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on his first day of meetings in Tokyo as part of a trip that aims to strengthen business and economic development in Hawaii.
"Japan and Hawaii enjoy a special connection, and I want to honor this enduring relationship," Ige said in a statement. "As a new governor, I intend to assure our partners that we appreciate them and will continue to work with them to strengthen the cultural, social and economic bonds we share."
Ige and Chief of Staff Mike McCartney are in Japan to promote and expand travel to the Hawaiian islands, and to discuss the possible pre-clearance of flights from Japan to Hawaii and the U.S.
Japan has 18 daily flights to the Hawaiian islands every day, bringing in an annual 1.5 million visitors who spend about $2.4 billion a year.
In addition to meeting with Abe, their itinerary includes discussions with technology executives, travel airlines and agents, the Japan-Hawaii Legislators Friendship Association and other industry leaders.
The estimated cost of this trip is $9,800 for air, hotel and ground transportation.
First Lady Dawn Ige will also join the trip.
Ige returns to Hawaii on Friday, June 19. In the meantime, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui will serve as acting governor while Ige is away.