One news item released just before ACUMEN was being sent to the printer was the appointment of a new British ambassador to Japan, effective from December. Timothy Hitchens CMG, LVO will succeed Sir David Warren KCMG, who will retire from the diplomatic service.
After joining the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1983, Mr Hitchens’ first posting was Japan, according to the FCO. Briefly, he has since worked on Asian, European and African issues and spent four years as assistant private secretary to the queen. He is currently the FCO director for Africa.
He has stated that higher education, science and the environment are the sectors he is most interested in, and ACUMEN wishes him all the best in broadening the UK-Japan partnership following the great achievements of Sir David.
Naturally, ACUMEN will continue to play its part in promoting the strong relationship between the BCCJ and the British Embassy Tokyo.
Home from home
Knowing the English language is dominated in Japan by the American model, I was relieved to be handed a free copy of the Financial Times on a recent flight with a US airline from Tokyo to Saipan, a US territory. As we enjoy a special relationship with the pink newspaper (ACUMEN is delivered with the FT to key subscribers in central Tokyo), it felt particularly good to feast on the bulky weekend issue during breakfast over the next few days at the rather grand Pacific Islands Club (PIC).
I was intrigued enough to ask how many Britons visit Saipan, to be told the number is modest. Coming between two major snowfalls in Tokyo, Saipan and PIC proved to be a wonderful and warm spot for a restful, entertaining and hassle-free winter break, something it offers all year. Another motivation is that British and Japanese passport holders need not apply for the tiresome ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) clearance to land in Saipan, unlike many visa holders must do to enter Hawaii and the US mainland. And should you wish to hire a classic American car or motorbike to cruise the beautiful coast, UK and Japan driverís licences are valid so no need for an international permit. This kind of laid-back attitude is ubiquitous throughout the islands, making it an altogether more pleasant experience.
In case you needed further encouragement to visit Saipan, PIC is offering ACUMEN readers a generous discount between 1 April and 13 July 2012, based on availability; receive $25 off an Ocean Front Room per night plus a complimentary daily breakfast.
Please email PIC requesting “BCCJ reader promotion”: