Top Japanese award for North-east whisky expert

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A North-east entrepreneur and Robert Gordon University (RGU) visiting lecturer has been named as one of the recipients of a prestigious award from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

James Millar, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Fusion Whisky Ltd, has been awarded a Foreign Minister’s Commendation in recognition of his work in promoting mutual understanding between Japan and the United Kingdom.

Mr Millar devised the first fusion whisky, consisting of Scottish and Japanese malts, named ‘The Glover’ after the Scottish Samurai, Thomas Blake Glover.

He has contributed to the establishment of the first Scottish Government Cross-Party Group on Japan and the creation of a Japanese Language Group. Aberdeen City Council also worked with Mr Millar while drafting their Japan Engagement Strategy.

Mr Millar has worked closely with RGU on various projects for a number of years, before being named as a visiting lecturer in early 2016. Over the course of that time, he has strengthened the university’s links with Japanese establishments and supported closer collaboration particularly in the field of life sciences.

Professor Lesley Diack, from RGU’s School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, said: “All of us who have worked alongside Jim over the years would like to extend our warmest congratulations his way.

“His efforts have been invaluable in supporting RGU’s partnerships with Japanese institutions and strengthening links between our two countries. He is a more than worthy recipient of this honour.”

The Foreign Minister’s Commendation is awarded annually to individuals and groups for outstanding achievements and acknowledging their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and the rest of the world.

Mr Millar was one of only five individuals from the United Kingdom to receive the honour this year, joining two in 2016 and just one individual awarded in 2015.

Speaking on his award, Mr Millar said: “I am very honoured that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs thought my work was worthy enough to warrant this prestigious Commendation. I have always been a great admirer of Japan and it has been pleasing to see our two countries come closer together through each of the projects I have worked on.

“I would not have been able to get this far without the help of my family, friends and colleagues, so I would like to thank them for their incredible support over the years.”


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