Two Britons decorated by Government of Japan


In December Ambassador Hayashi bestowed decorations awarded by the Government of Japan upon two British citizens in recognition of their longstanding contribution to Japan-UK relations.

The first recipient was Mr Roy Hurst, who received The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays at a ceremony held at the Ambassador’s residence on 4 December.  From 1964 until 2002 Mr Hurst oversaw the training of a large number of Russian language specialists, including some Japanese diplomats, at the Defence School of Languages (DSL) operated by the British Ministry of Defence.  Those young Japanese diplomats were posted to the UK during the Cold War to receive training in the Russian language before going on the then-Soviet Union, where opportunities for effective instruction for foreigners from the West were few and far between.  That said, such was the quality of the training provided by the DSL that Japan continued sending students there even after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
During his career of almost 40 years, Mr Hurst trained more than 60 diplomats.  As Ambassador Hayashi pointed out in his speech, about half of his former students are still young and relatively junior in their positions but are constantly increasing their influence over Japan’s policies towards Russia and the countries which made up the former Soviet Union.  Moreover, Mr Hurst’s contribution to Japanese diplomacy went beyond linguistic training for Japanese diplomats: through teaching the Russian language he inculcated in them the fundamentals of dealing with Russian people and their country.  Also notable was his positive personal attitude towards Japan and his cordial treatment of his Japanese students, which impressed their British counterparts.  Not surprisingly, the British Government officials taught by Mr Hurst maintained excellent personal relationships with their Japanese classmates long after they had left the school, to the great benefit of UK-Japan diplomatic relations as a whole.  Despite having retired from the DSL several years ago, Mr Hurst retains his contacts with his former students in the Japanese diplomatic service as well as with those in many fields of British public and business life, and remains at the centre of the vast but close-knit human network of Anglo-Japanese Russia hands.

On 12 December a ceremony took place at the Embassy at which Ambassador Hayashi bestowed upon Professor David Cope The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.  The award was made in recognition of Professor Cope’s major contribution to Japan-UK exchange in the field of science and technology.

In his remarks, Ambassador Hayashi outlined the main elements of Professor Cope’s career.  After posts at London University, Nottingham University, the OECD and the International Energy Agency, and having served as the Executive Director of the UK Centre for Economic & Environmental Development (UK CEED) in Cambridge, in 1997 he took sabbatical leave from UK CEED to become Visiting Professor of Energy and Resource Economics at Doshisha University for a year, during which time he taught undergraduate and Master’s degree courses to both Japanese and other East Asian students.  The following year he returned to the UK to set up the Parliament Office of Science and Technology (POST), an organisation that provides specialist advice on science and technology to parliamentary committees and parliamentarians as well as furnishing information for Technology Assessments.  He was appointed the Director, continuing in this post until his retirement last March.

Among his other achievements, Professor Cope was instrumental in setting up The Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum, which has come to be regarded as the science and technology version of the World Economic Forum at Davos and has since met every year in Kyoto.  At the same time, through his role at POST he maintained regular contacts with Japan, for instance through receiving visits from people from Japanese government bodies and universities as part of study tours and to exchange views as well as accepting officials and researchers from such organisations on International Fellowships.  There are moves in Japan to set up a body along the lines of POST.  Meanwhile, from next month Professor Cope will go to Japan to take up the role of Visiting Professor at Doshisha University’s Institute for Technology, Enterprise and Competitiveness (ITEC).

Ambassador Hayashi closed his remarks by referring to the importance of Japan-UK cooperation in the field of science and technology in line with international efforts to tackle climate change and other weighty global issues.  He expressed the hope that the decoration of Professor Cope for his impressive achievements would spur even closer collaboration between our two countries in this important field.