In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the relationship between Japan and the UK, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conferred the Foreign Minister��s Certificate of Commendation to individuals and groups who have long been making significant contributions to the improvement of bilateral relations between Japan and the UK.
On 10th December 2008, a luncheon was held at the Ambassador's Residence on the occasion of the conferal of the Certificate to Mr. Richard Large, Mr. & Mrs. Peter and Hiroko Roberts-Taira and Ms. Kazumi Tanaka for their outstanding contributions to Japan-UK relations. H.E. Ambassador Shin Ebihara presented the certificates on behalf of Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Mr. Richard Large in 1998 became the first Chairman of Japan 21, a charity dedicated to Japan-UK exchange in the area of education, and he has tirelessly dedicated himself to the development of the charity for the past 10 years. His connection with the business world proved especially helpful to fundraising, and Mr. Large was instrumental in convincing Japanese business leaders of the importance of promoting people-to-people exchange between the younger generations of the two countries. Since the successful merger of Japan 21 with The Japan Society last year, he served as a council member until his retirement earlier this year.
Mr. Richard Large & H.E. Ambassador Shin Ebihara
Mr. & Mrs Peter and Hiroko Roberts-Taira, the Director and Administrator, respectively, of The Kaetsu Educational and Cultural Centre, assumed their positions in 2002. Since their arrival, they have exploited the Centre��s marvellous, yet previously underused, facilities to promote bilateral cultural exchange, hosting classes of traditional Japanese arts on a regular basis. The Centre��s annual Japan Day is now also a well established spring event in Cambridge. Furthermore, Mr. Roberts-Taira has played a key role in promoting bilingual education at elementary school level, while Mrs Roberts-Taira has been a supporter of the Jet programme serving on the selection committee.
Mr. Peter Roberts-Taira, Mrs Hiroko Roberts-Taira & H.E. Ambassador Shin Ebihara
Ms Kazumi Tanaka, main founder and first Chairman of the British Association for Teaching Japanese, assumed the position of Chairman in 1988, and has pressed the agenda of Japanese language education in the U.K. since then. From 2002 to 2006, Ms Tanaka held the chairmanship of the Association of Japanese Language Teachers in Europe, devoting herself to the promotion of Japanese language not only in the UK, but also in Europe.
Ms. Kazumi Tanaka & H.E. Ambassador Shin Ebihara