Indiana Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, who will lead the state trade delegation, has invited Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray and Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center Director Bill Dory to tag along.
The trade mission is scheduled for Sept. 17-28, beginning in Shanghai, China, and ending in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan (Indiana's sister state), where the Hoosier contingent plans to assist with earthquake relief.
"It's an honor to be asked to go," Mayor Murray said.
Earlier this week she informed the City Council of the invitation but was hesitant to commit to the trip with everything that is already on her plate in Greencastle.
Besides the responsibilities of the day-to-day operation of the city, the 2012 budget process and the progress of the Stellar Communities Grant projects lie ahead.
"It's just a real busy time," Mayor Murray said. "It would be nice to go, but it's a long trip (17 days) and a long time away. Logistically we have a lot of things to talk about."
One of those things would be how to pay for the trip. City Councilman Mark Hammer, who went on a similar trip to Japan in 2003, reminded everyone that funds have been set aside through the Citizens Advisory Commission for Industrial Development (CACFID) for such purposes.
The mayor said she is definitely considering it. Dory, meanwhile, brought the invitation to the attention of the Development Center Board of Directors during its meeting Friday.
In Japan, the Indiana contingent is scheduled to make stops in Tokyo, Nagoya and Ota City. The latter is home to Shigeru Industries, the parent company of Heartland Automotive.
"Again, it's an honor to be asked to go," Murray said. "And at the end of the day, we know it's important to the folks with Shigeru and Heartland and Chiyoda."
Mayor Murray said the visit to China is a direct result of Chinese firms expressing interest in investing in the United States, particularly in the Midwest.
The Hoosier delegation of business and community leaders will focus on job creation. Participants are scheduled to meet with leaders of Japanese companies having Indiana operations -- like Shigeru and Chiyoda -- as well as host a reception for potential investors.
Lt. Gov. Skillman also will address the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association meeting in Tokyo.
"Our friends in Japan have been extraordinary business partners," Skillman said. "We know there are more opportunities for job growth and investment to those U.S. states willing to put in the effort to build and maintain relationships."
The trip will be Skillman's fifth overseas trade mission as lieutenant governor. She previously represented Indiana in Central America (2005), Taiwan and Vietnam (2006), Mexico (2008) and China (2010).
Should Mayor Murray and Dory decide to go, it will be at least the fifth visit to Japan by local officials. Mayor Nancy Michael went three times during her 12 years in office, while Mike Harmless also went during his reign as mayor.