Japanese Government honours Mr Martin Barrow and Viscount Trenchard

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 Martin Barrow, who received The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon at a ceremony held at the Embassy of Japan on 28 November. This award was conferred upon Mr Barrow in recognition of his many years of significant contribution to the promotion of Japan as a tourist destination and to making Japanese culture more widely known in the United Kingdom.

In his remarks, Ambassador Hayashi noted that Mr Barrow’s contacts with Japan span nearly half a century. After joining Jardine Matheson 50 years ago just as the Shinkansen bullet trains started running, he came to engage in the Far East and has devoted much of his time and energy to fostering a cordial relationship between Japan and the United Kingdom.

Ambassador Hayashi outlined a few of Mr Barrow's key contributions to Japan-UK relations, primarily from the London perspective and focusing on his endeavours to promote tourism.

Since 2004 Martin has been a core member of Japan’s Visit Japan Campaign Promotion Committee in the UK and has offered a variety of valuable insights and suggestions on tourism policy-making for Japan. In 2008, fully conscious of his dedication to this cause, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism appointed him Visit Japan Ambassador in the United Kingdom. He frequently visits Japan and takes the opportunity on these occasions to meet with key officials of the Japanese Government and tourism-related organizations, offering critical advice on how to expand inbound tourism. 

Mr Barrow always actively participates in Japan-related initiatives, such as the Japan Matsuri and Hyper Japan, and has helped widen the appeal of these events. He has also performed many roles in organizations involved in Japan-UK cultural relations.  For example, he served as Vice-Chairman of the Japan Society in the United Kingdom for six years and, since 2010, he has been Chairman of the Tankokai UK Association, representing the Urasenke Tea Ceremony Association.

Ambassador Hayashi concluded his remarks by thanking Mr Barrow for his enthusiasm for Japan and also expressed his appreciation to his Japanese wife Noriko - "without whose support, inspiration and charm Mr Barrow might not be here today. The Barrow family, indeed, embody the affectionate Japan-UK relationship."

On 3 December a ceremony took place at the Embassy at which Ambassador Hayashi bestowed upon Viscount Trenchard The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star.  The award was made in recognition of his tremendous contribution to friendship and mutual understanding between Japan and the United Kingdom.
Ambassador Hayashi introduced Lord Trenchard as being the Minister most knowledgeable about and best connected with Japan in the House of Lords "as he has devoted so much time and energy to promoting our relations". He then went on to outline some of his specific achievements in various areas, including business, culture and politics.

Having joined the financial services company Kleinwort Benson, he was posted to Japan in 1980, after which he was to remain actively involved in business in Japan and with Japan up until today.  While in Japan, along with his day-to-day work, he was appointed a Director of the Japan Securities Dealers Association as well as a Director of the Bond Underwriters Association of Japan.
Those appointments did not come by chance, but were given to him in consideration of not just his expertise but the trust he had earned from the Japanese business community.

His involvement with Japan flourished even after he physically came back to the UK, and in an expanded form. Ambassador Hayashi noted, "I personally came to know him as an important UK-Japan contact in the House of Lords during my previous stint as political counsellor here in London in the late ’90s."

Crucially, he became Joint Chairman of the Japan Society, serving in the post from 2000 to 2004.  At that time he played a leading role in hosting and promoting various cultural occasions in the UK, which included the thousands of events under the umbrella of the 2001 Japan Festival. That year-long extravaganza was attended by millions of people and certainly made Japanese culture more accessible to British people. The Japan Society played a vital role in bringing the historic series of events to fruition.

Finally, Lord Trenchard has been playing a critical role as a politician in promoting bilateral parliamentary relations, especially since he was appointed as Vice Chair of the British-Japanese All-Party Parliamentary Group.  He encourages exchanges of parliamentarians and offers his thoughts on international affairs to visiting Japanese VIPs.  Having the unique standing of an elected hereditary peer, he is in a most suitable position to provide pertinent advice to his Japanese counterparts in the House of Councillors.

Ambassador Hayashi concluded by saying: "On many occasions over the years, his advice and insights, softly spoken often in a mixture of Japanese and English, have greatly helped successive Japanese Ambassadors. He is a man of action, too.  For example, last year he delivered a forthright speech on the floor of the House of Lords urging the British Government to retain the Japanese language in the list of foreign languages to be taught at KS2 stage. Together with the help from many other friends of Japan, including those present today, this speech eventually turned the tide in favour of Japanese language education in the UK. Thus his energy and dedication, I would say, have been a critical factor in the development of the increasingly strong bilateral ties we enjoy today."



The Embassy of Japan