It was a throwaway line in a speech full of throwaway lines.
Last week, billionaire Donald Trump announced he was seeking the Republican nomination for president.
Makes a lot of sense, right? He has his name on hotels, casinos and office buildings across the world, so why not put it on the White House?
In a speech in which he lamented the fact that America was without any recent victories, he asked this: “When did we beat Japan at anything? They send their cars over by the millions, and what do we do? When was the last time you saw a Chevrolet in Tokyo? It doesn’t exist, folks. They beat us all the time.”
Maybe they do when it comes to cars, but being the capitalist he is, Trump should know that we still have a few corporate wins over the Japanese.
He need only to look at Wynnton Road in the heart of Columbus’ midtown. Right here in the sleepy South is an insurance company that competes daily in Japan and wins. And it has been doing so since 1974 when it became the third U.S. company licensed to sell insurance in Japan.
Mr. Trump, you ever hear of Aflac? Sure you have. If not, maybe someone should show The Donald a duck commercial.
But just to make our point, we’ll share some numbers. You know, numbers seem to impress Mr. Trump. Aflac is a $27.31 billion that is with a “b” company. To make that number even more impressive, about 75 percent of the company’s annual revenue is generated in Japan. And Aflac only does business in two countries the U.S. and Japan.
Sounds like someone in the Aflac tower is scoring a few victories in Japan.
And the free market that Mr. Trump so adores seems to be nodding its approval. Aflac’s stock traded at $62.83 per share on the New York Stock Exchange at the time of writing.
And Aflac is doing it in an honorable way, working with Japanese companies when it makes sense. Back in 2001, Japanese insurance firm Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Company and Aflac Japan formed a business alliance. That led to Aflac Japan becoming the industry leader in that country.
And when it comes to Columbus, it is not just Aflac that has fared well in direct competition with the Japanese. Back in 2006, a group of kids from Columbus beat a bunch of boys from Kawaguchi City, Japan, for the Little League World Series title.
That was a 2-1 victory by Northern Little League, Mr. Trump.
So, the rest of the country may not be doing so well in competition with Japan. But way down here in Columbus, Ga., competition is alive and well.
We even win a few.