CHICAGO (CBS) — Governor Bruce Rauner is meeting with newly appointed Japan Ambassador to the U.S., Shinsuke Sugiyama. Rauner said Illinois is eager to expand its job-creating partnership with Japan and businesses operating in Illinois.

The Governor and Ambassador met in Schaumburg Tuesday.

Ambassador Sugiyama is visiting as part of a Grassroots Caravan to tour company facilities, look at the latest manufacturing innovations, and learn about the Illinois workforce.

In a press release, Gov. Rauner said,  “Our relationship with Japan is so important to the Illinois economy. More than 630 Japanese companies operate within our borders today and they provide employment for 46,690 Illinois workers. For us, today’s meeting reinforces the benefits our state derives from foreign direct investment. For Ambassador Sugiyama, we hope it helps confirm our commitment to helping Japanese companies grow here in Illinois.”

Sugiyama toured Amada America Inc’s 133,000-square-foot facility to see the company’s work in manufacturing automation and robotics.

“Seeing is believing,” Sugiyama said in a press release. “Participating in the Grassroots Caravan, I understand that it is something more than just deepening our economic relationship, but also brings people closer together.”

Japanese companies have helped in creating jobs and driving economic development throughout Illinois.

Employment at Japanese companies is up 6.1 percent in the last year.

The Ambassador’s Grassroots Caravan visit was organized by the Illinois Department of Commerce, Intersect Illinois, Consulate General of Japan in Chicago, Schaumburg Business Alliances, Japan External Trade Organization, Japan Chamber of Commerce, and the Illinois Manufacturers Association.