The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is pleased to announce that Mr Murray McLean AO, Chair of the Australia-Japan Foundation and Australia’s former Ambassador to Japan from 2004 to 2011, was honoured on 5 November by the Japanese Government with the award of Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun in recognition of his distinguished achievements in international relations over many years, particularly in Japan.
The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun is the highest decoration among the Japanese Government’s Order of the Rising Sun. Decorations for foreigners are bestowed upon individuals who have made notable contributions to enhancing bilateral relations.
Mr McLean is currently Chair of the Australia-Japan Foundation. He retired from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in 2012 having been one of the most senior members of the Australian foreign service with 42 years of experience both in Canberra and overseas, particularly in Asia. His final overseas post was as Australia’s Ambassador to Japan during a period of significant expansion in Australia’s bilateral relationship with Japan. This included deepening the already very strong economic ties through ongoing negotiation on a bilateral Free Trade Agreement, enhanced cooperation on global and regional issues and strengthened bilateral security cooperation. In Japan, Mr McLean led Australia’s response to the events of March 11 2011 and following days, including the huge Tohoku earthquake and devastating tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster.
Mr McLean was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in the Australia Day 2013 Honours list for distinguished service to the advancement of Australia’s diplomatic, trade and cultural relationships in Asia and for significant leadership and co-ordination roles in the Australian, international and local communities in Japan, following the earthquakes and tsunami of 11 March 2011. Mr McLean received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 1991 for his services to international relations.