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Panelist Biographies -“Japan Today: The Challenges Ahead”

Steven Hoch is associate provost for Academic Programs, dean of International Programs, and professor of History at the University of Iowa. He is an internationally known expert on imperial Russian and European agrarian history. Before joining the Office of the Provost, he served as director of the University of Iowa’s National Resource Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (CREES). Professor Hoch holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University. Before coming to the University of Iowa in 1988, he held appointments at Trinity College and at Drew University.

Raymond G. Riezman is professor of economics and the Lloyd J. & Thelma W. Palmer Research Fellow at the University of Iowa. He is also a research associate at the Center for the Study of Globalization & Regionalisation (CSGR), Warwick, England and is a Research Fellow at the CES-inf, Munich, Germany. His teaching and research interests include international trade, international business, political economy, microeconomics and managerial economics. Professor Riezman earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1977 and a BA from Washington University – St. Louis, in 1969.

Robert W. Karr, Jr. is an attorney at law with the firm of Ross & Hardies in Chicago. His practice areas include business litigation, Japanese business, corporate law and immigration issues. Prior to entering the law, Mr. Karr studied and worked extensively in Japan. He was the first American ever hired by Nissan Construction Co., Ltd. in Tokyo where he gained specialized knowledge in corporate operations. Karr earned his J.D. from DePaul University in 1999 and his B.A. in Asian Languages and Literature from the University of Iowa in 1991.

Tomoharu Washio was named the chief executive director of the Chicago office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in February 2002. Before assuming his Chicago position, Mr. Washio was director of the International Economic Affairs Division in JETRO Tokyo. He has been a senior research fellow at the International Institute for Global Peace, (renamed the Institute for International Policy Studies) a Tokyo-based think tank. In the U.S., Mr. Washio served as director of research at the JETRO New York Office from 1982 to 1984, and as executive director, Research and Planning Division from 1991 to 1995. He has also has written extensively on U.S.-Japanese political and economic relations. This is Mr. Washio’s first assignment in the Midwest.

Stephen Vlastos is professor of history and director of the Center for Asian Pacific Studies (CAPS). He joined the University of Iowa department of history in 1976, after earning his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He is a past chair of the Northeast Asian Council of the Association of Asian Studies, and since 1995 has been a member of the Japan Advisory Board of Social Science Research Council of New York. Professor Vlastos continues to do extensive historical research and writing on Japan’s political movements and economy.

Etsuro Honda is the deputy consul general (Finance), and minister, Embassy of Japan to the U.S. Mr. Honda joined the Ministry of Finance in 1978 after graduating with a B.A. in law from Tokyo University. From 1985-1987, he served as the second secretary at the Embassy of Japan in the U.S.S.R. Subsequently he moved to Los Angeles, where he was the consul through 1989. In 1989, he returned to Japan to become the deputy director of the Coordination Division of the International Finance Bureau at the Ministry of Finance. From 1990-1992 he was a senior research fellow at the International Institute for Global Peace in Tokyo. Returning to the Ministry of Finance in 1992, he became the deputy director of the Research Division of the International Finance Bureau.

Starting in 1993 he served as a financial sector specialist for the Former Soviet Union Countries at the World Bank. He returned to the Ministry of Finance again in 1996 to become the director for trade negotiations of the Customs and Tariff Bureau. In 1998, Honda became director for the Establishment of Financial Intelligence Unit at the Financial Supervisory Agency. In 1999, he served as director for National Property Executive Planning at the Financial Bureau of the Ministry of Finance. He accepted his current position in 2000.