Emanuel sings praises of New Jersey to Japanese leaders

Former Chicago mayor, Obama chief of staff and longtime friend of Gov. Murphy tells group N.J. has all they are looking for

United States Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel.

TOKYO — Like Chicago in its role as the nation’s second city, former President Barack Obama’s chief of staff and current Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said New Jersey knows what it’s like to be in New York City’s shadow.

And to want to punch it in the nose.

The former mayor, however, told leaders of more than a dozen top Japanese companies that New Jersey could be the bright light they are looking for.

Emanuel, speaking at an event on Day 3 of the New Jersey East Asia Economic Mission, told the assembled group that New Jersey can provide three things every company is after:

  • Talented workforce — with plenty of workers in the pipeline;
  • Great place to raise a family;
  • Certainty in a time of chaos.

“You’re all chasing talent,” he said. “You don’t have enough of it. You don’t have it guaranteed. (New Jersey) has enough universities to give you a lifetime supply.”

As a longtime public official, Emanuel certainly has the experience to judge economic situations. His current role as an ambassador makes him an expert on another subject — the impact moving internationally can have on a family.

“When you send somebody to run an operation overseas, you’re not just sending that individual, you’re sending their family,” he said.

Will they be able to adapt to a new area — and its culture? Emanuel said the rich diversity of New Jersey ensures any new student will feel at home.

A big reason, Emanuel said, is New Jersey’s ability to stand above the culture wars that are wreaking havoc on so many other states.

“In a time of chaos and I time of conflict, you have a state that gives you certainty,” he told the group.

Emanuel said Murphy’s commitment to making its pension payments while also investing in transportation, infrastructure and social services, will be a difference-maker in the eyes of their employees, especially when it comes to time to raise a family.

“He’s taking on the tough fights,” Emanuel said.