This blog post was published under the 2015 to 2024 Conservative government

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Paul Madden

British Ambassador to Japan

Part of Partners in Prosperity UK in Japan

3rd October 2017 Tokyo, Japan

Pig in Japan

Hosting the Tokyo launch of Peppa Pig last week made a nice change from giving speeches about Brexit and worrying about North Korean missile tests.

The hugely popular British cartoon character which has been a favourite with children around the world, since its inception in 2004 has finally come to Japan. The Japanese with their manga traditions have many famous anime characters of their own. But British ones are very popular here too. And Entertainment One’s association with Sega Toys and TV Tokyo means that Peppa is expected to be a massive hit here as well.

Each generation of kids (and their parents) find new cartoon characters to love. For my children, now in their 20s, it was Postman Pat and Fireman Sam, although I was pleased that Noddy, from my own childhood was relaunched around that time too. But I found myself wishing we’d had Peppa as well.

Cute six year old Lara Aoyama who voices Peppa, and tiny four year old Tano Suzuki who voices her brother George gave interviews with impressive confidence. I think that on one occasion, he might have answered a question before it was asked, a bit like the Two Ronnies “Mastermind” sketch. But no-one minded. They must have been the youngest speakers we’ve put in front of a microphone at the Residence. The next person to use that microphone was the Chairman of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority, at a seminar we hosted the following day.

It’s been a varied few days for the Embassy. The previous week we had Liz Truss Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Matt Hancock Digital Minister, and Antonia Romeo DIT Permanent Secretary here, all on different programmes. And we ended the week with the Band of the Coldstream Guards performing at my Residence for Armed Forces Day. It’s this variety which makes the life of an Ambassador so interesting: no two days are the same. But it’s also, of course, an indication of the extraordinary range and diversity of the relationship between two major countries, and the role which embassies play in supporting it.

About Paul Madden

Paul Madden has been the British Ambassador to Japan from January 2017. He was Additional Director for Asia Pacific at the FCO in 2015.He was British High Commissioner to Australia…

Paul Madden has been the British Ambassador to Japan from January 2017.

He was Additional Director for Asia Pacific at the FCO in 2015.He was British High Commissioner to Australia until February 2015. Prior to this he was British High Commissioner in Singapore from 2007-2011.

A career diplomat, he was previously Managing Director at UK Trade and Investment (2004-2006), responsible for co-ordinating and
implementing international trade development strategies to support
companies across a wide range of business sectors.

As Assistant Director of Information at the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (2003-2004) he was responsible for public diplomacy policy,
including managing the FCO funding of the BBC World Service, the British
Council and the Chevening Scholarships programme. He led the team
responsible for the award-winning UK pavilion at the Aichi Expo in Japan

He was Deputy High Commissioner in Singapore from 2000-2003 and has
also served in Washington (1996-2000) and Tokyo (1988-92). Between
1992-96 he worked on EU enlargement and Environmental issues at the FCO
in London.

Before joining FCO he worked at the Department of Trade and Industry
(1980-87) on a range of industrial sectors and trade policy, including
two years as a minister’s Private Secretary.

He has an MA in Economic Geography from Cambridge University, an MBA
from Durham University, studied Japanese at London University’s School
of Oriental and African Studies, and is a Fellow of the Royal
Geographical Society. His first book, Raffles: Lessons in Business
Leadership, was published in 2003.

Married to Sarah, with three children, he was born in 1959, in Devon.