PHILADELPHIA — On November 3, Commerce Director Harold T. Epps and other representatives from the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce will arrive in Japan for a one-week business mission. Three City officials will visit two cities in Japan, including Tokyo and Kobe—a Sister City of Philadelphia.

Business development is the key focus of the trip, with other planned activities and meetings that will support city-to-city relationship building and tourism promotion. The goal of the trip is to strengthen ties between Philadelphia and Japan—creating opportunities for economic growth— and to position Philadelphia as a global destination for businesses, talent and investment. Officials from the Department of Commerce, in collaboration with organizational partners, will conduct more than 20 activities during the week, including meetings, speaking engagements, business outreach and other events.

More than 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States, and as a result, international business opportunities are vital to the continued growth of domestic businesses. The Department of Commerce is committed to ensuring Philadelphia has a strong, diverse economy, and works to achieve that by attracting more international companies to Philadelphia while identifying additional opportunities for local companies to do business abroad.

“In order to stay competitive in our increasingly global economy, we must continue to explore opportunities and increase our region’s connections outside of the United States,” said Commerce Director Harold T. Epps. “Philadelphia is a global city and we need to maintain direct outreach to our international business partners in order to attract new capital, talent and connectivity that will spur increased economic growth in our city.”

With a population of more than 36 million, Greater Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the world. According to the Brookings Institute, the city is also one of the top five international markets for Philadelphia. A specific focus during the visit by Philadelphia officials will be to enhance the awareness of the flourishing medical and educational ecosystem in our region, and showcase the opportunities it presents for Japanese businesses. The Department of Commerce will also pitch Philadelphia directly to businesses who are interested in investing in and exporting to the U.S.

The following officials from the City of Philadelphia will join the business trip: 

  • Harold T. Epps, Commerce Director
  • Rochelle Cameron, Chief Executive Officer, Philadelphia International Airport
  • Sylvie Gallier Howard, First Deputy Commerce Director
  • Samuel Chueh, Director, International Business and Global Strategy, Department of Commerce

In addition to City officials, representatives from the following organizations will join certain planned activities during the trip:

  • Citizens Diplomacy International (CDI)
  • Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP)
  • Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) 
  • Philadelphia International Medicine (PIM)
  • Philadelphia Orchestra

The City will cover travel costs for the three officials from the Department of Commerce on the trip, estimated at $19,000. All additional travelers’ costs will be covered by their respective organizations.

About the Philadelphia Department of Commerce

The mission of the Department of Commerce is to ensure that Philadelphia is a globally competitive city to which employers flock, entrepreneurs thrive and innovation abounds; to recruit and retain a diverse set of businesses; to foster economic opportunities for all Philadelphians in all neighborhoods; and to partner with workforce development programs and local businesses on talent development ensuring that all Philadelphians can find and retain living-wage jobs.  For more information about the Department of Commerce, visit