Some meetings have too much at stake to leave to Skype, which is why Mayor Chuck Reed and a small convoy of local officials took a four-day jaunt to Japan last week.
Hoping to resuscitate flights between Mineta San Jose International Airport and Tokyo—which haven’t happened in more than a decade—Reed, along with Kim Walesh, acting director of economic development, and Ed Nelson, director of air service development at Mineta, pressed the flesh Friday morning with All Nippon Airlines CEO Shinichiro Ito.
Nippon, the second-largest carrier in Japan, has a fleet of new Boeing 787 aircrafts. The San Jose delegation pointed out that those aircraft are ideal for Silicon Valley companies which export directly to Tokyo but don’t want to send their goods up 101 and out of SFO.
The get-together was followed by a short trip to see U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief Jim Zumwalt, a California kid from El Cajon, before San Jose’s contingent was shuttled away to meet with executives from Hitachi. The meeting with the electronics giant was described as an effort on local officials’ part to reaffirm Silicon Valley’s long-standing relationship with the company.
Obviously, phone calls, gift baskets and/or pokes on Facebook simply don’t do the trick anymore. Later in the evening, Reed and company got back with Nippon’s bigwigs for dinner. There’s no word on how fast the sake flowed, but the back-slapping probably ended long before the time of the Rising Sun—Reed’s flight left at 8:30am Saturday.