WMU News

Alumnus discusses Japanese-American business relations

March 1, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Japanese-American business relations viewed through the eyes of a nongovernmental organization will be the topic of an upcoming lecture at Western Michigan University.

WMU alumnus James L. Foster will discuss "Japanese-American Business Relations: An NGO Perspective" at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, in Room 1120 of Schneider Hall as part of the Japanese Business Speaker Series. An informal reception will follow his presentation.

Foster is executive director of the Japan-American Society of Georgia. He is a 1994 graduate of WMU, where he earned bachelor's degrees in finance and Asian studies, and he also studied at the Japan Center for Michigan Universities in Hikone, Japan. Before taking his current post in 1998, he worked as associate director of the JASG and as a research assistant at the Japan External Trade Organization in Atlanta. Foster also served on the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority's Foreign Language Team for the Centennial Olympic Games, and he is currently a member of the boards of directors of the National Association of Japan-American Societies, the Atlanta International Museum of Art and Design and the Center for International Business, Education and Research at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

A nonprofit organization that represents some 1,000 individuals and nearly 200 corporations, the Japan-American Society of Georgia encourages ties of friendship and understanding between individuals in Japan and the United States. Japan is Georgia's second largest export destination, with annual exports worth approximately $2 billion.

The Japanese Business Speaker Series is one of seven key elements of Focus Japan, a WMU project funded by a two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Chaired by Dr. F. William McCarty, professor of finance and commercial law in the Haworth College of Business, and Dr. Hideko Abe, assistant professor of Asian and Middle Eastern languages, Focus Japan aims to strengthen the University's study of Japan's language, culture and business environment.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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