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Calvin to Host Consul General of Japan
posted April 3 , 2007

Calvin College will host an important Japanese visitor on April 10.

ShinotsukaThe Honorable Tamotsu Shinotsuka, Consul General of Japan for Michigan and Ohio, is making his first trip to west Michigan that week with talks slated for Western Michigan University and Calvin College.

After meeting with Grand Rapids business and community leaders earlier in the day, Shinotsuka will speak at 5:30 pm in the Meeter Center Lecture Hall at Calvin on "United States-Japan Relations and East Asia."

His visit is being sponsored by the Japan-America Society of West Michigan and both the Calvin Asian Studies program and the political science department.

Calvin's Dan Bays directs the college's Asian Studies program and says the talk by Shinotsuka will be timely.

"Japan has a new prime minister," says Bays, "Shinzo Abe, who is quite different than the previous Prime Minister Koizumi. Already several issues have recently arisen with the potential to impact our relationship with Japan. To hear from the Consul General will be an important opportunity for our community."

Shinotsuka is based on the east side of the state in a post added to the Japanese government in the early 1990s. He has been a long-time government official and previously worked as Director of the Global Environmental Affairs Division of the Ministry, and later as Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Division. He also has had postings in Austria, Germany and Pakistan.

He arrived in Detroit to assume his current post of Consul General of Japan for the states of Michigan and Ohio on October 4, 2006.

At Calvin he will find a school with a keen interest in Asia.

A new, but growing, program, some 500 students a year now are enrolled in Asian Studies at Calvin.

In recent years Calvin has expanded its Asian Studies in numerous ways, including introducing a new Asian Studies major in 2004 (after having introduced an Asian Studies minor in 2001).

It also has increased programs in which visiting scholars come to the U.S. and Calvin scholars travel to Asia. It has added programs that allow students to travel between Asia and North America, including a semester-long program that takes Calvin students each fall to Beijing, a summer internship program in Asia and an effort that sees students from China's Peking University (that country's "Harvard") spend a full year studying philosophy at Calvin. The college also has greatly expanded its collection of Asian books and journals.