Dr. John Holdren awarded Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star

John Holdren in the White House

Dr. John Holdren, Woodwell Climate Research Center (formerly Woods Hole Research Center) senior advisor to the president, has been recognized with Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star for his work strengthening the relationship between Japan and the United States in science and technology during the Obama Administration.

The Government of Japan announced the awards yesterday in the foreign recipients part of the 2019 Spring Imperial Decorations.

Dr. Holdren served as president of Woodwell Climate from 2005 to 2009, when he joined the Obama Administration as the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Among his responsibilities was overseeing, jointly with Japan’s Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, all U.S.-Japan government-to-government cooperation in Science and Technology.

In that connection, he co-chaired the 11th through the 13th Joint High Level Committee Meetings on Science and Technology Cooperation between the Government of Japan and the Government of the United States of America. He also worked closely with U.S. and Japanese nuclear safety experts and officials on the response to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident following that March 2011 event, reporting directly to President Obama on progress. Accompanied by Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. Ichiro Fujisaki, he toured the damaged Fukushima reactors (in a radiation suit) four months after the accident.

“I am deeply grateful to the Japanese government, as well to my Japanese partners in our joint work on U.S.-Japan cooperation in science and technology and on responding to the Fukushima tragedy, for honoring me with the Order of the Rising Sun,” Holdren said.

After serving for eight years in the Obama White House, Dr. Holdren rejoined Woodwell Climate in 2017 as senior advisor to the president. Prior to his White House service, he was also Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental  Science and Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and Professor of Environmental Science and Policy in Harvard’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, roles to which he was re-appointed after leaving the White House.

“I’m thrilled that John’s historic and groundbreaking public service continues to be recognized around the world. His expertise and advocacy on the national and international stages have been invaluable to the cause of supporting science-based climate policy,” said Dr. Philip Duffy, President and Executive Director of Woodwell Climate Research Center.

Dr. Holdren lives in Falmouth, Mass. with his wife, Dr. Cheryl Holdren.