Japanese Government honours Sir David Alexander Warren KCMG

On Thursday 21 March 2019, Ambassador Tsuruoka bestowed the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun upon Sir David Warren in recognition of his invaluable contribution to strengthening bilateral relations and promoting friendship between Japan and the UK.

Sir David Warren has worked tirelessly to promote Japan-UK ties through his long diplomatic service as well as his various activities since his retirement. Throughout his diplomatic career, he was continuously engaged in furthering Japan-UK relations through his three stints at the UK Embassy in Japan over a total of 13 years, culminating in his final diplomatic posting as UK Ambassador to Japan from 2008 to 2012. Some of his remarkable achievements as Ambassador include his participation in the celebration of the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and the UK in 2008, which involved over 300 official events at the British Embassy in Japan, and his significant role in assisting Japan in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, thereby contributing to the further strengthening of Japan-UK relations.

After retiring from the diplomatic service, he formally took up the role of chairman of the Japan Society in December 2012 and stepped down at the end of last year after six years. The Japan Society is the leading independent body in the United Kingdom dedicated to the promotion of UK-Japan cultural, educational and business links. He actively involved himself in running the Society by overseeing educational activities as well as holding business-related events to boost Japan’s profile in the UK. He is also a member of the Steering Committee of Japan House London, which opened in June 2018 as a new Japanese cultural hub and which he continues to promote. He is a visiting Professor in the School of East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield, a member of the Advisory Board of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures and an Associate Fellow of the Asia Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House.

In his speech, Ambassador Tsuruoka paid tribute to Sir David’s actions following the Great East Japan Earthquake, mentioning that he visited the affected region just two days after the disaster, to check on British nationals and to lend support and encouragement to the Japanese communities there. Furthermore, he played a vital role in the British Government’s establishment of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) after the Earthquake. Sir David and his colleagues at the Embassy acted in accordance with evidence-based instruction from SAGE and decided not to close the Embassy or evacuate British nationals from Tokyo. The UK’s unwavering support for Japan after the earthquake led to the visit of HRH The Duke of Cambridge to the affected area in 2015.

Sir David thanked Lady Warren for her life-long support and gave special mention to the Embassy staff who were serving at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake for their unflagging efforts when dealing with the aftermath. He also expressed his gratitude to Ambassador Tsuruoka and noted that they had worked together on other issues in the past, and said Britain couldn't have asked for a better friend.

In view of Sir David’s sterling work outlined above, the Government of Japan considers that he well deserves to be honoured for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of Japan-UK relations.


The Embassy of Japan