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Kikkoman gift creates UW-Madison, state and international partnership

May 30, 2003

Merry Anderson

Yuzaburo Mogi, president and chief executive officer of the Kikkoman Corporation, headquartered in Japan, has accepted a plaque from Chancellor John Wiley and College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean Elton Aberle in recognition of the company’s $1 million pledge to the university.

Wiley and Aberle made the presentation prior to an economic development conference titled “Revitalizing the U.S. and Japan Economies” on May 30 in Lake Geneva, WI. The conference was held in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of Kikkoman Foods, Inc. operations in Walworth County.

The gift will create the Kikkoman Laboratory of Microbial Fermentation in the new Microbial Sciences building now under construction on the UW campus.

“We are sincerely grateful for this generous gift from the Kikkoman Foundation and for the partnership that exists between this world-class company and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The discoveries and expanded knowledge that will result from the research conducted in this lab have the potential to benefit not only our two countries, but the entire world,” says Wiley.

Kikkoman Foods, Inc. has given regular annual gifts to UW–Madison and the UW System. When the opportunity arose in 2002 to take an active role in the Microbial Sciences Building Campaign, the Kikkoman Foundation stepped forward to pledge $1 million. The Microbial Sciences building is one of four new expansion building projects included in the BioStar Initiative.

“The University of Wisconsin–Madison, through its BioStar Initiative, has demonstrated its world leadership role as an academic research university. The Kikkoman Laboratory of Microbial Fermentation will advance the microbiology program and provide the means for an enhanced level of teaching and research. Kikkoman is pleased and proud to be a part of this initiative and we look forward to our continued association with the university,” says Mr. Mogi.

UW’s microbial sciences program, which includes medical microbiology, bacteriology and the Food Research Institute, focuses on advancing food safety, human and animal health, agriculture and biotechnology. Aberle predicts that with its microbiology program already ranked among the nation’s top three, UW has a nucleus of expertise from which to advance to an even higher level of excellence in teaching and research.

“Advances in microbiology are key to discovering approaches that provide a safe food supply, protect our environment and treat devastating diseases,” Aberle says.

The economic conference was co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Business Administration and Kikkoman Foods. Participants included government officials and business leaders from Japan; local, state and national government officials from the United States; and business leaders from Wisconsin.

Founded three centuries ago by Yuzaburo Mogi’s ancestors, Kikkoman is the world’s largest producer of soy-sauce products, with international sales of nearly $2 billion. The firm was the first Japanese company to establish a production plant in the U.S. According to Mr. Mogi, Wisconsin was selected as its first American site because of the state’s central location, easy access to raw materials, the friendly community, the work ethic of its people and the excellent quality of local water, which is an important component in the brewing of soy sauce.