On 29 April 2007 the Japanese Government announced that a decoration was to be bestowed upon Sir John Boyd KCMG in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the promotion of friendship as well as academic and cultural exchange between Japan and the United Kingdom. The Grand Cordon of the Rising Sun will be presented to him by His Majesty The Emperor in early May at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
Sir John is a retired diplomat who is a great friend of Japan. Having joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1962, he enjoyed a distinguished diplomatic career, which included periods as Deputy Under Secretary of State and Chief Clerk of the FCO. In 1992 Sir John was appointed Ambassador to Japan, in which role he worked tirelessly to foster Japan-UK relations not only in the diplomatic and economic fields but in other important areas including science & technology, culture and sports as well. Sir John��s diplomatic career ended with his retirement as Ambassador to Japan in 1996.
After returning to the UK, Sir John was appointed Master of Churchill College, Cambridge University. In the decade up to his retirement last year, he spared no effort to foster academic exchange with universities in Japan. His achievements included the forging of a research exchange agreement with the Tokyo Institute of Technology in 2001. In addition to this role, Sir John was appointed Chairman of the Trustees of the British Museum in 2002.
The festival Japan 2001 also benefited greatly from Sir John��s energy and enthusiasm. He served as a regional co-ordinator for Cambridge and in this capacity promoted the project in academic circles there. Eventually, thanks in no small measure to Sir John��s efforts, more than 50 Japan-related events, including seminars, exhibitions and concerts, took place successfully under the Japan 2001 umbrella. Whether in Japan or subsequently, Sir John has taken a particular interest in bringing together British and Japanese musicians.
Sir John has also played a key role in the UK-Japan 21st Century Group (formerly the UK-Japan 2000 Group), using his wealth of experience to help formulate initiatives to put to the leaders of both countries. In addition to attending meetings while serving as Ambassador to Japan, he remained actively involved in the Group��s endeavours following his retirement.
On hearing that he was to be decorated by the Japanese Government, Sir John commented: "I am deeply honoured by this award and extremely grateful to His Majesty The Emperor. As committed friends of Japan, and conscious of Japan��s vital international role, my family and I have been enormous beneficiaries from our exposure to this great culture. It has been a privilege to try to help, even in a small way. I will go on doing all I can to promote understanding between our two societies."
Both in his former diplomatic capacity and in his present role, Sir John has made and continues to make a valuable contribution to mutual understanding between Japan and the United Kingdom. He well deserves to be honoured for this achievement.