Embassy of Japan
May 1, 2017
On April 29th, 2017 (Japan Time), the Government of Japan announced the foreign recipients of the 2017 Spring Imperial Decorations. Ambassador John R. Malott is among this year’s foreign recipients, and in recognition of his contributions towards strengthening the relationship and friendship between Japan and the United States of America, he will receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon.
SUMMARY OF CONTRIBUTIONS
Ambassador Malott’s 31-year career in the United States Foreign Service included service as the American Consul in Kobe (Japan), Consul General in Osaka (Japan), and both Director and Deputy Director of the State Department's Office of Japanese Affairs. He was one of the first Foreign Service Officers to specialize in Japanese and Asian economic affairs. Throughout his career, he worked tirelessly to maintain and strengthen the Japan-U.S. relationship, offering policy advice at the highest levels.
Ambassador Malott was a steady guide during several tense moments in Japan-U.S. relations, including trade negotiations. His leadership brought Japan and the United States closer together on many points. Highlights of Ambassador Malott’s Foreign Service career include President Ronald Reagan’s visit to Japan in 1983. He assisted in preparing meetings between Prime Minister Nakasone and President Reagan, and again with several visits between Prime Minister Kaifu and President George H. W. Bush. In 1990, he was again involved in Japan-U.S. relations regarding the Gulf War.
His work to promote understanding of Japanese culture and society in the United States continued after his retirement. From 2006 to 2014, he was President and CEO of the Japan-America Society of Washington DC (JASWDC). He continues to preside as President of the JASWDC and as a member of its Board of Trustees. He has been essential to the growth and success of the National Japan Bowl, an academic competition for high school students across the country on Japanese language and culture; the Sakura Matsuri – Japanese Street Festival, the largest one-day celebration of Japanese culture in the United States; and CineMatsuri, the first Japanese film festival in Washington, DC, which recently completed its fourth year. He is also a valued advisor to the J-LIVE speech contest for college students held at George Washington University, promoting Japanese language education in the United States. In addition to these many accomplishments, he has published a book called “Mrs. Taft Plants a Tree: How the Cherry Blossoms Came to Washington” about how Japan gifted cherry blossom trees to the U.S. in 1912.
# # #