Gov. Nathan Deal today awarded Charles D. Lake II, chairman of Aflac Japan, one of the state's most prestigious international recognitions. The Governor George Busbee Award, named after the late governor of Georgia, recognizes an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to building the relationship between Georgia and Japan. Aflac, a Fortune 500 company based in Columbus, has been selling insurance policies in Japan since 1974 and now insures approximately one of every four Japanese households, making it the country's No. 1 insurance company in terms of individual insurance policies in force. Lake is just the fifth recipient of the award since its inception in 2004, and the first recipient since 2007.
"Charles Lake's leadership of Aflac Japan and the relationships the company has fostered in Japan have helped magnify Georgia's presence in this market," said Deal. "Japan has been among Georgia's top trade and investment partners for almost four decades, and Aflac has supported our goals every step of the way."
Deal announced the award during a weeklong business mission to Japan, during which he will attend and speak at the Annual Joint Meeting of the Southeast U.S./Japan and the Japan-U.S. Southeast Associations in Tokyo. Gov. Busbee was a co-founder of SEUS-Japan in 1976, helping establish it as the region's foremost initiative to promote trade, investment, understanding and friendship between Japan and seven Southeastern states.
Charles D. Lake II has served with Aflac Japan since 2001, and since 2008 as the company's chairman and chief representative in Japan, which is a major part of the company's overall operations. He is responsible for Aflac Japan's external relations, strategic initiatives and public policy. Lake has demonstrated Aflac's commitment to a leadership role in Japan through his service as current chairman of the U.S.-Japan Business Council and president of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation, an international nonprofit organization that promotes relationships between the U.S. and Asian nations. Lake serves on the board of the Tokyo Stock Exchange Group, Inc., and is chairman of the American Council of Life Insurers' International Committee and President Emeritus of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. He also serves as vice chairman of the America-Japan Society and as a councilor of the International House of Japan.
Lake has been a strong supporter of Georgia's presence in Japan, including its international office in Tokyo, its business and trade missions and particularly the state's participation in the SEUS-Japan annual meeting. He and his team have made introductions for the states to key business leaders in Japan, facilitated connections and communications and supported Georgia's participation in SEUS-Japan each year the conference has been held in Japan.
Japan has ranked among Georgia's top 10 trade and investment partners for years. In 2011, total trade between Georgia and Japan reached $5.37 billion, and 378 Japanese companies operating in the state employ nearly 20,000 Georgians.
Past winners of the Governor George Busbee Award include Alex Gregory, chairman of the board, YKK Corporation of America; Tom Yamamoto, senior adviser, Murato Electronics N.A.; Glen Cornell, past chairman SEUS-Japan Association, and Yumiko Nakazono, managing director, state of Georgia, Tokyo Office.
(SOURCE: GOVERNOR'S OFFICE)
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