Deans Hour
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The Hawaiʻi-Japan Connection Series

Addressing topics connecting the past, present, and future of a resilient Hawaiʻi-Japan legacy spanning 135 years.

Anyone interested in Hawaiʻi-Japan connections is welcome to attend!

Examining the Present

Economic ties between Hawaiʻi and Japan in the age of COVID-19

Insightful virtual panel discussion on the newest developments in both visitor industries, with an examination of economic revival and what’s on the horizon.

Co-sponsored by



Under the constantly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining economic ties between Japan and Hawaiʻi is an unprecedented challenge. What are the prospects of economic exchange between the two regions? What new initiatives are in place to foster the bonds? Join us for a panel discussion on pragmatic ways to enhance the Japan-Hawaiʻi relationship. We will have brief presentations by the three speakers, followed by discussion and a Q&A session.


  • Takaho Iwasaki has rich professional experience at Fuji Television, a major media company in Japan, and at her family business in Kagoshima. After completing her MBA at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, she started her own company, MajiConnection, in 2019. She helps to connect small and medium enterprises in Japan and Hawaiʻi that are interested in startups, innovation and technology.
  • Sumner La Croix is a research fellow at the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO) and a former UH professor of economics. He is the author of numerous journal articles and books, and has extensively investigated Hawaiʻi’s pandemic response, what it takes to reopen Hawaiʻiʻs economy in an efficient manner, and the economy under a new normal.
  • Yasuo Tanabe is the CEO of Global Link Lab Ltd., senior advisor to the U.S.-Japan Council, and a visiting scholar at UH Mānoa. He has valued experience bridging Japan and U.S. economies at Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (formerly MITI); and Hitachi Ltd. He is an expert on policy and market issues in Asia, in particular on energy and smart city development, and was involved in the JumpSmartMaui Project.
Takaho Iwasaki

Takaho Iwasaki

Sumner La Croix

Sumner La Croix

Yasuo Tanabe

Yasuo Tanabe


  • Denise Konan is Dean of the College of Social Sciences and a professor of economics at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. A noted international trade economist, she has worked extensively in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. She has served as a consultant to the World Bank, the Council of Foreign Relations and other international organizations, and is co-founder of the UH Economic Research Organization.
Denise Konan

Denise Konan


  • In Hawaiʻi: Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 4-5 pm (HST)
  • In Japan: Thursday, October 29, 2020, 11am-12pm (JST)

Program (HST):

  • 4:00-4:05 pm: Introduction by Denise Konan, Dean, College of Social Sciences
  • 4:05-4:35 pm: Presentations by Takaho Iwasaki, Sumner La Croix and Yasuo Tanabe
  • 4:35-4:55 pm: Discussion, Q&A
  • 4:55-5:00 pm: Closing remarks by Dean Konan

Register for this free, online Zoom event

“Economic ties between Hawaiʻi and Japan in the age of COVID-19” is the first in the “Hawaiʻi-Japan Connection Series,” organized by the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa under the College’s new Japan-Hawai‘i Socio-Economic Innovation Initiative.

Securing the Future

The people-to-people bridge in higher education

Learn about the latest in online educational opportunities and experiences for Japanese university students seeking to study university subjects ranging from economics to geography.

  • When: Spring 2021
UH Manoa

Honoring the Past

3/11: Ten years after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami

A virtual briefing with forecasts by CSS Urban and Regional Planning faculty on disaster prevention/mitigation and building resilience in Japan.

  • When: Spring 2021
Earthquake and tsunami

CSS Dean’s Hour

Looking at Science with an Eye Toward Social Change and Responsibility

The Dean’s Hour series explores the impact of the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa on today’s society.