Address from Consul General Takaoka: Mr Callum Farquhar’s Foreign Minister’s Commendation for FY 2018

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

My name is Nozomu Takaoka, since my arrival here in Edinburgh almost four months ago; I have been carrying out my duties as the new Consul General of Japan.

It is my great pleasure to be invited for the first time to attend the Annual General Meeting of the Japan Society of Scotland, which has been the major driving force to promote Japan-Scotland exchange and friendship for the past 32 years.

I would like to start by thanking Dr. Trevor Runcie for his leadership role as the Chairman of the Society for the past two and a half years. His presence has successfully ensured the continuation of the Society’s important activities and I am truly thankful for that.

I am also happy to have observed today that Professor Ian Gow has been elected as the new Chairman of the Society. I am looking forward to working with him and Vice-Chair Helen Parker, Membership Secretary David Russell and the new Scholarship Secretary Colin Edward to invigorate the Society’s activities in this particular year of 2019, when the Scottish national team will be participating in the Rugby World Cup in Japan and the Japan-UK Season of Culture is launched.

Having said that, my main function here today, as the representative of the Japanese Government, is to announce the awarding of a Foreign Minister’s Commendation to Mr Callum Farquhar. This commendation is awarded to those all around the world, whose outstanding achievements in promoting friendship between Japan and the rest of the world should be recognized.

My allocated time is too short to appreciate what Mr. Farquhar has done over the past three decades. All of us recognize his contribution and dedication as the Treasurer of this Society. Thanks to him, things which otherwise could have remained a pipe dream have become a reality.

So, Mr. Farquhar has been providing a sound basis for the Society’s day to day activities and that deserves our deep gratitude. In addition to that, what is unique about Mr. Farquhar is his passion to encourage youngsters to engage in international exchanges.

Mr. Farquhar has been an enthusiastic participant in scouting activities since a young age. His enthusiasm has obviously not faded away since then and he has continued to show commitment to young people’s exchange programs between Japan and Scotland for over 30 years.

This enduring commitment has proven to be very precious in times of great need. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011, Mr. Farquhar generously extended his most heart-warming support to Japanese Scouts in Iwate, one of the hardest hit areas, and arranged their visits to Scotland.
I am sure that those boys and girls of Iwate felt immense solidarity and warm friendship here in Scotland. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our thanks once again.

This episode, followed by another successful arrangement of his to host 3000 UK scouts visiting Japan during the World Scout Jamboree 2015 is a testament to his invaluable contribution to the genuine friendship between Japan, UK, and Scotland.

Therefore, it is very appropriate that Mr. Farquhar was given a Points of Light Award by the UK Prime Minister in 2015, Silver Sakura medal by the Scout Association of Japan in 2017 and today, the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation.

I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to Mr Farquhar on his commendation, and to express my hope that this commendation will contribute to further deepening the ties between Japan and Scotland, and Japan and the United Kingdom.