Japan-UK Relations

Japanese Government honours Mr David Hugh Thomas, Honorary Consul of Japan in Cardiff

On 26 November 2013, Ambassador Keiichi Hayashi bestowed the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon upon Mr David Hugh Thomas, Honorary Consul of Japan in Cardiff, in recognition of his significant contribution to promoting political and economic ties and a friendly overall relationship between Japan and the United Kingdom.
Mr Thomas is the Honorary Consul of Japan in Cardiff and is currently the President of the Consular Association in Wales. He is also the Chairman of the Regulatory Board for Wales and a Trustee of the National Library of Wales.

He qualified as a solicitor in 1960 and then pursued a public service career in local government for over 40 years, serving in Carmarthern, Llanelli, Port Talbot, Swansea and Cardiff where, for the last 15 years of his local government career, he was Chief Executive of Mid Glamorgan County Council. During this period in Cardiff, he also held some additional appointments such as Clerk to the South Wales Police Authority and Clerk to the Lord Lieutenant of Mid Glamorgan, who was responsible for organising all Royal visits to Mid Glamorgan.

In 1992, he was elected President of the Association of County Councils (England and Wales) and was encouraged to take early retirement in 1995 so that he could embark on a further period of public service in central government. He was then appointed to other posts such as Chairman of the Residuary Body for Wales and Deputy Chairman (to Sir Mansel Aylward) of the Wales Centre for Health. He was also appointed as High Sheriff of the County of Mid Glamorgan in 1999.

In recognizing his contribution to bringing about large-scale investment by Sony in the county of Mid Glamorgan as Chief Executive of Mid Glamorgan County Council and the wealth of contacts he had developed with key local and central government officials, in 1996 he was appointed to succeed Mr Robin John Geldard as the Honorary Consul of Japan in Cardiff. After that he made a significant contribution to the work of Japanese companies in Wales, advising them on a variety of issues they faced in developing their commercial activities, and taking on the important role of liaising between Japanese firms in Wales and local businesses and economic organisations there. He also provided a valuable service to Japan by assisting with visits from members of the Imperial Family and the Government of Japan. In addition, he helped to increase Japan’s presence in Wales by taking part, in his role as Honorary Consul, in events such as the National Day Receptions held by the Government of Wales as well as those organized by The Japan Society in Wales or the part-time school for Japanese children there. He has thus been a vital and indispensable figure for the Japanese community in Wales.

Mr Thomas has featured prominently at cultural events involving Japan. In particular, he was actively involved in organising the Cardiff Festival, under the umbrella of JAPAN2001, which attracted more than three million people interested in learning more about Japan and its culture, and helped to ensure its success.

The Government of Japan highly appreciates the significant contribution Mr Thomas has made throughout his professional life to Japanese business in Wales and Japan’s overall presence there. Mr Thomas therefore well deserves to be honoured for his outstanding contribution to Japan-UK relations.