May 4, 2004

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Contact: LeaMarie Herron, KU Center for East Asian Studies, (785) 864-3843.

Japanese, U.S. experts to discuss trade with East Asia May 7 at KU

LAWRENCE -- To help Kansans and Missourians understand how the economic issues of East Asia increasingly affect their everyday lives, leading experts from Japan and the United States will present the symposium "Viewpoint Japan: East Asian Economic (R)evolution" Friday, May 7, at the University of Kansas.

The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO Chicago) is presenting the two-hour symposium for the business community, government officials, educators and area residents who want to learn about the unparalleled restructuring of East Asia's economy, including the rapid expansion in the movement of products, capital and information throughout the region.

The event, from 8 to 10 a.m. in the English and Malott rooms of the Kansas Union, is free and open to the public. However, registration is required. Contact LeaMarie Herron at lherron@ku.edu or (785) 864-3843. For more information, go to http://www.ceas.ku.edu/documents/JLS_Kansas2.pdf.

More than 25 percent of Kansas' exports are to East Asia, said William Tsutsui, director of Kansas Asia Community Connections and the Kansas Consortium for Teaching About Asia. Concerns over the SARS virus, the "bird flu" and job exportation to China all have demanded major attention by the media, business and government, said Tsutsui, who also is a history professor and a Kauffman entrepreneurial faculty scholar at KU.

"The rapidly changing economic landscape of East Asia is driving a fundamental rethinking and reshaping of Japanese industry," Tsutsui said. "Most Americans are unaware of the extent of this ongoing transformation, but, given its importance to the global economy and America's future, we all need to know more about the process of East Asian economic integration."

Tomoharu Washio, chief executive director of JETRO Chicago, adds, "East Asian business and economic issues are so fluid that they demand greater examination. In the past decade, a huge amount of Japanese facility investment in China rapidly grew into a trade deficit. Now, foreign companies have to contend with a new dynamic, the rise of inflation in the Chinese economy, a phenomenon that may lead Japanese technology companies back to their own economy for investment expansion. A constant evaluation of these trends is the only way to gain an understanding of the East Asian region, which has a profound influence on the U.S., the Midwest and Kansas."

The Consulate-General of Japan in Kansas City, the Chicago Office of the Japan External Trade Association, KU's Center for East Asian Studies and KU's Center for International Business Education and Research sponsor the symposium.

KU's Center for East Asian Studies was founded in 1959 and is the only federally funded East Asian Studies Center in the Great Plains. Its aim is to enhance skills in, and the knowledge and awareness of, the language, traditions and the contemporary importance of East Asia. KU's Center for International Business Education and Research is one of 30 centers designated by the U.S. Department of Education as national resources in international business. It promotes and provides education and research on international aspects of business.

JETRO, a nonprofit, Japanese government-supported organization dedicated to promoting mutually beneficial trade and economic relationships between Japan and other nations, is the official trade organization of Japan and has a 46-year history of bringing Japanese and American companies together. JETRO Chicago provides services to companies and organizations in 11 Midwest states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Ohio.

Presenters will include:

 • Arthur Alexander, former president of the Japan Economic Institute in Washington, D.C., from 1990 to 2000. Currently a visiting professor at Georgetown University, he also has taught at George Mason University and at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and he was associate head of the economics department of Rand Corp. from 1977 to 1985. He recently published the book "In the Shadow of the Miracle."

 • Tsuneo Watanabe, senior fellow of Japanese studies, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a former staff member of Congressman Kozo Watanabe (vice speaker of Japan's House of Representatives and former minister of International Trade and Industry).

 • Koichi Ishikawa, senior researcher at JETRO Tokyo, has served as director in the JETRO offices in Jakarta and Hong Kong, and was director of the Asia Oceania Division and International Economic research division.

Consul General Takao Shibata, of the Japanese Consulate General of Japan in Kansas City, will introduce the presenters. While in Lawrence, the presenters will meet with KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway, KU School of Business Dean William L. Fuerst, KU Policy Research Institute members, and KU professors of international business, economics and East Asian studies.

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