By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ELWOOD — Elwood Mayor Ron Arnold left on an economic development trip to Japan on Monday ahead of Gov. Mike Pence's Japan trade mission.
Arnold met with the top executives of Sakamoto Industries, which is the parent of Elsa Corp., an automotive component supplier that's been based in Elwood since 1987.
Arnold's early departure to meet with Sakamoto company officials is intended to reinforce relationships he developed on a similar trip last fall and to renew contacts with other companies he met with on that earlier trip, according to city spokesman Jeff Howe.
Bill Savage, economic development director for Elwood, said that forging personal relationships with Japanese companies through trade missions could be a critical factor in luring new companies to locate in communities like Elwood, and the expansion of existing companies.
Arnold is scheduled to join the Pence trade mission today. He will return to Elwood on Sept. 14, according to Savage.