WMU News

Expert to advise on business opportunities in Japan

Oct. 18, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- A foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of Commerce will be on the Western Michigan University campus this month to kick off a speaker series featuring experts on Japanese business.

Keith Kirkham will inaugurate the 2001-02 Japanese Business Speaker Series with his talk, "Current Opportunities for Business in Japan," at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, in Room 1120 of Schneider Hall. An informal reception will follow his presentation.

Currently a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Kirkham spent five years as a commercial attaché at the American Embassy in Japan, where he advised U.S. companies doing business in that country. His clients included firms in the information technology and telecommunications sectors. He also introduced Japanese buyers to U.S. suppliers, participated in bilateral trade talks and served as a liaison to Japanese business groups.

In addition to his post as a foreign service officer, he also serves as the director of the U.S. Commerce Department's Export Assistance Center for Western Pennsylvania. Fluent in Japanese, Kirkham earned an undergraduate degree in political science and international relations from Indiana University and a master's degree in public administration from Michigan State University.

Kirkham's talk is free and open to the public. Reservations are requested and can be made by calling WMU's Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages at (616) 387-6240.

The speaker series is one of seven key elements of Focus Japan, a WMU project funded by a recent two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Led 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, 616 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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