WisBusiness: Kikkoman to open research center in Madison

By Samantha Hernandez

Madison is getting a saucy new research center.

Yuzaburo Mogi, Chairman and CEO of Kikkoman Corporation, announced Friday that the corporation will be opening a research facility that will help create products for an evolving U.S. marketplace.

In addition, he said the company is will give $100,000 to the University of Wisconsin for its Environmental Studies program.

University Research Park in Madison will house the facility, which is set to open this fall. Mogi said that the new lab will help Kikkoman better serve consumers.

One researcher will be brought from Japan and the others will be hired locally.

Gov. Jim Doyle explained that having the Kikkoman research center in Madison “will be very, very helpful keeping Wisconsin” at the forefront of food production.

The Environmental Studies scholarships can be applied for by any student in the program pursuing an undergraduate degree. Walworth County residents will be given scholarship preference because Walworth County has been the home of Kikkoman for the past 35 years.

Mogi said that the Walworth plant – which is celebrating its 35th anniversary – has “paved the way for international success.” The naturally brewed Kikkoman is sold in over 100 countries and has been in production for over 300 years.

Only about 160 people are employed by the Walworth County Kikkoman, but Doyle was quick to point out that there are a lot of soy bean farmers in Wisconsin who depend on the factory.

The dual announcements were made following the Wisconsin-U.S.-Japan Economic Development conference held in Milwaukee. The “Economics of Green: Finding a Balance Between Economic Growth and the Environment” panel consisted of American and Japanese politicians, academics and businessman. The panel discussed what would be the best way to maintain the economy while protecting the environment.

Timothy Sullivan, President and CEO, Bucyrus International said that business often drives policymaker’s decisions. He cited today’s Climate Security act being blocked in the Senate. The bill was authored by Senator’s Joe Lieberman and John Warner and would have curbed emissions, but would have passed the expense onto consumers.

In attendance was former Wisconsin Gov. Patrick Lucey who worked with the Walworth county and the corporation to help make Kikkoman’s home in Wisconsin.

The other panel included Doyle, Dr. Glenn Hubbard, Dean of the business school at Columbia University; Dr. Heizo Takenaka, professor and Director of the Global Security Research Institute at Keio University; Takeo Shiina, executive advisor for IBM Japan; and Mutsuyoshi Nishimura, special advisor to the cabinet and former ambassador in charge of global environment. The panel was moderated by Mike Miller of WISN.