Howard H. Baker, Jr. U.S. Ambassador to Japan
Howard H. Baker, Jr. was sworn in as the 26th (13th post-WWII) U.S. Ambassador to Japan on June 26, 2001. He presented his credentials to Emperor Akihito on July 5, 2001.
Ambassador Baker served in the United States Senate from 1967 until January of 1985, and as President Reagan's Chief of Staff from February 1987 until July of 1988. He was born in Huntsville, Tennessee on November 15, 1925.
Following undergraduate studies at the University of the South and Tulane University, Ambassador Baker received his law degree from the University of Tennessee. He served three years in the U.S. Navy during WWII and subsequently worked in the law firm founded by his grandfather, now the largest in Tennessee.
In 1966, Ambassador Baker became the first Republican ever popularly elected to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee, and he won re-election by wide margins in 1972 and 1978. (Ambassador Baker's father and mother both served in the U.S. House of Representatives. His father-in-law, the late Everett Dirksen, was Republican Leader of the U.S. Senate from 1959-1969).
Ambassador Baker first won national recognition in 1973 as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee. He was the keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention in 1976, and was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980. He concluded his Senate career by serving two terms as Minority Leader (1977-1981) and two terms as Majority Leader (1981-1985).
Ambassador Baker was a delegate to the United Nations in 1976, and served on the President's Foreign Intelligence Board from 1985 to 1987 and from 1988 to 1990. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs. He serves on the boards of the Forum of International Policy and is an International Councillor for The Center for Strategic and International Studies.
He has received many awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, in 1984 and the 1982 Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service Performed by an Elected or Appointed Official. A noted photographer, Ambassador Baker received The American Society of Photographer's International Award in 1993, and was elected into the Photo Marketing Association's Hall of Fame in 1994. He has received numerous honorary degrees from educational institutions including Yale, Dartmouth, Georgetown, Bradley, Pepperdine, and Centre College.
Ambassador Baker has published four books, No Margin for Error in 1980, Howard Baker's Washington in 1982, Big South Fork Country in 1993 and Scott's Gulf in 2000.
Ambassador Baker, a widower, married Nancy Landon Kassebaum, former United States Senator (R) from Kansas, on December 7, 1996. He and his late wife, Joy Dirksen Baker, have two children, Cynthia Baker and Darek Dirksen Baker, and four grandchildren.
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