In two stints encompassing 15 years, Toshihiko Hirao made his home in Cape Girardeau. The president of BioKyowa in Cape Girardeau along with his wife, Miyako, soon will return to Japan to retire.
Southeast Missourian business editor Melissa Miller recently interviewed Hirao about his time in the U.S. and the future of the company he helped start in 1984.
Hirao worked for Kyowa Hakko, the parent company of BioKyowa, for 36 years. The company, according to Hirao, is the world's second-largest amino acid supplier. BioKyowa has played a seminal role in this accomplishment.
"BioKyowa is the major producer of amino acid manufacturing in our group," Hirao said. "We are seeking to be the top-ranked amino-acid production facility in the world. I am sure BioKyowa has big potential to be that."
According to Hirao, the amino-acid market is experiencing significant growth. We're seeing proof of this with the multimillion-dollar expansion of the Cape Girardeau plant.
BioKyowa is an important employer in this area, and the company is poised for more success. Toshihiko Hirao had a significant hand in this.
Congratulations to Hirao on an impressive career. We wish him and his wife the best in the next chapter of their lives.