Sr. Advisor to Chicago’s Consulate-General Receives Imperial Decoration
• William G. Christensen, Senior Advisor to the Consulate-General
of Japan in Chicago, received the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold and
Silver Rays during the July 24 ceremony held at the official residence
of Consul General of Japan.
• As a long-time advisor, Christensen has been part of the Consulate’s effort of cultivating a good relationship between Japan and the Midwest. His career covers one third, or 40 years, of the entire 120-year history of the Consulate.
• After completing Japan and China studies at university and graduate school, Christensen was hired by the Consulate in 1978 and assigned to the economic section. Since then, he has been studying issues such as economic policies, direct investment trends and state exports to Japan to work on how to integrate Japan with the Midwest economy. He is also known as a witty speech writer.
• Naoki Ito, Consul-General of Japan in Chicago, who
handed the Order to Christensen, congratulated him and noted that he was
among the first to be honored with this award since the ascension of the
• Theresa Kulczak, Executive Director of the Japan America Society of Indiana, praised Christensen and said, “Bill provides an indispensable link with the Consulate. His advice is always spot-on. He has been invaluable to our success not only in Indiana but to all the Midwest states.”
Changes in the Japan-Midwest Economic Relationship: Christensen’s View
• During an interview with the Chicago Shimpo in late August, Christensen shared his view on the changes in the Japan-Midwest economic relationship over the course of the past 40 years.
• When Christensen joined the Consulate in the late 1970s,
Japan and the U.S. were engaged in a “very different trade situation,”
with Japan-U.S. trade friction already well into its development.
• The mid-1980s saw the beginning of Japan’s direct investment
in the Midwest.
• Christensen also sees cultural interactions growing
more and more active throughout the Midwest region.
• The Consulate has seen an increase in the number of
inquiries from smaller communities and local governments about such programs.
William G. Christensen (C), Consul General Naoki Ito (R) and Theresa Kulczak, Executive Director of the Japan America Society of Indiana