CHICAGO (AP/CBS) — Governor Bruce Rauner is going on his first international trade mission since taking office.
Rauner planned his administration's first international trade mission with an eight-day visit to Japan and China - bringing with him government, education and business leaders.
The governor said those countries already have strong relationships with the state and him personally.
Rauner's office on Wednesday said the trip will start Saturday in Tokyo, where the governor will attend the Midwest-USA Japan Conference. Former Illinois Gov. James Thompson started the conference nearly 50 years ago. Rauner then will continue on to Shanghai and Hangzhou, China, where he will have meetings with government officials that his office says will promote Illinois in China.
Rauner's office said the goal of the trip is to create opportunities for Illinois businesses and strengthen Illinois' diplomatic and trade relationships in the two countries.
"I am committed to strengthening Illinois' economic and cultural ties with important global markets, including those within Japan and China," Gov. Rauner said. "With an increasingly connected global economy, international trade missions such as this one allow Illinois companies to enhance their competitiveness and create more jobs."
Rauner has made several day trips within the U.S. to bring business to Illinois. But he didn't travel abroad because he said it didn't feel appropriate without a balanced budget or structural reforms.
The republican admits the state still doesn't have either one of those (the budget isn't balanced), but he says he can't wait any longer.
Rauner's trip is to end Sept. 17.
(CBS Chicago and The Associated Press contributed to this copy. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
for more features.