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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 28, 2011

New York Times reporter to discuss Japan's nuclear crisis Oct. 6

The aftermath of Japan's nuclear crisis will be the subject of the annual Kurtz Lecture to be delivered by Ken Belson, reporter for The New York Times, at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, in Room 100 of Philips Hall on the University of Iowa campus.

The Kurtz Lecture is organized each year by the UI College of Engineering Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Titled "Fukushima: What Lies Ahead," the free, public talk will focus on the disaster at Japan's Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Belson -- who previous to the disaster had lived in Japan for about 12 years -- will discuss Japan's energy policy, the response to the crisis by Tokyo Electric and Japan's top lawmakers, and what it was like to return to Japan to work for nine weeks amid frequent aftershocks and fears of radiation exposure.

Within days of the March tsunami and earthquake that overwhelmed the reactors, The New York Times sent Belson to write about events as they unfolded in Fukushima. His years of reporting from Japan informed his coverage, from the response of the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. to the actions of ordinary Japanese citizens.
Belson joined The New York Times in 2001 in the Tokyo bureau to write about business in Japan. Since 2009, Belson has been a sports reporter, writing about the business of sports, including franchise sales, tickets, stadiums and many other topics. Previously, he spent three years in the metro section writing about transportation, economics and energy.

Prior to joining The New York Times, he wrote for Bloomberg, Reuters and Business Week, all in Tokyo, as well as for many publications as a freelancer. Belson travels widely, taking annual trips to Asia, and is a past winner of the Pulitzer Traveling Scholarship, which he used to travel to the Cook Islands and write about what happens when a country goes bankrupt. He lives with his wife in New York, where they enjoy listening to jazz, taking long walks and rooting for the Mets -- not necessarily in that order.

Funded by an endowment from the Iowa power industry, the annual Kurtz Lecture is named for the late Edwin B. Kurtz, professor and head of the UI Electrical Engineering Department from 1929 to 1960. Kurtz was the architect of the world's first educational television station, directing experimental station W9xk in Iowa City during the 1930s.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 370, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo,, 319-384-0009