Japan honors Vanderbilt Professor Dr. James E. Auer

January 7, 2009


Dr. James E. Auer, Director of the Center for U.S.-Japan Studies and Cooperation at the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies (VIPPS), has been honored with the prestigious decoration, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and the United States.


The conferment ceremony was held at the Official Residence of the Consulate-General of Japan at Nashville on the evening of Friday, December 26. Consul General Hiroshi Sato conferred the decoration on Dr. Auer on behalf of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan.


The Order of the Rising Sun was established in 1875 as the first national decoration awarded by the Japanese Government. The decoration is bestowed upon individuals who have made significant contributions to positive relations between Japan and other countries.


Dr. Auer entered the U.S. Navy in 1963 and served on four ships based in Japan. He obtained a doctoral degree in international relations at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy co-founded by Tufts and Harvard Universities and holds the distinction of being the first U.S. Navy officer to study at the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Staff College in Tokyo. From 1979 to 1988, he served as the Special Assistant for Japan in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, acting as a bridge between the Japanese Defense Agency (now the Ministry of Defense) and the U.S. Department of Defense.


Dr. Auer established the Center for U.S.-Japan Studies and Cooperation at the Vanderbilt University in 1988. From the time of its inception, the Center has facilitated public discussion of issues of mutual interest to Japan and the Unite States and has played a central role in multiple forms of cooperation between the two countries. As director of the Center, Dr. Auer has conducted extensive research on a number of topics on U.S.-Japan relations, including national security, trade, technology transfer, and critical infrastructure protection. Under his excellent leadership, the Center organizes a variety of meetings and publications featuring the research of government, business, and academic leaders of both countries. The Center has also hosted more than 90 research fellows from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Defense, the National Police Agency, major Japanese newspapers, and the Fulbright Program. The Center marked its 20 th anniversary in September 2008.


As a policy expert and opinion leader, Dr. Auer is a frequent contributor to discussions of U.S.-Japan defense cooperation at academic conferences in the United States and Japan, as well as in the Japanese and American media.