From l to r: Japan's consul general for the Southeast, Kazuo Sunaga; Mark Jackson, honorary consul and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley in Birmingham for the Rotary Club meetiing during which Mr. Jackson's appointment was announced.

A teleconferencing executive and chair of the Birmingham Sister Cities Commission in Alabama has been named the state’s new honorary consul of Japan.

Mark Jackson, chief executive officer of Moreson Conferencing Inc., was appointed by Japan’s Atlanta-based consul general for the Southeast, Kazuo Sunaga, during a Rotary Club of Birmingham meeting last week.

Mr. Jackson, a current board member of the Japan America Society of Alabama Inc., also is a former board member of the Georgia society.

He told Global Atlanta that he hopes to serve as a bridge between the two societies in promoting mutually beneficial programs.

He also said that he is planning to visit each of the 66 Japanese companies currently in his state. Alabama also has 117 Japanese affiliated companies.

Yoshi Domoto, executive director of the Japan-America Society of Georgia Inc., congratulated Mr. Jackson on his appointment and welcomed the idea of organizing joint activities.

Japanese affiliated companies have invested almost $4 billion in Alabama ever since 1979 and are involved in a wide variety of fields ranging from automobiles and engines to chemicals and carbon fibers. 

Honda Manufacturing of Alabama in Lincoln and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama Inc. near Huntsville each have expanded their facilities several times and spawned a large auto supplier network.

Tokyo-based  Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. recently announced that it is buying Birmingham’s Protective Life Corp. for $5.7 billion.

Mr. Jackson chairs the Birmingham Sister Cities Commission, which was honored last year as the No. 1 commission by Washington-based Sister Cities International.

Scott Colson, assistant to Birmingham’s mayor, William Bell, said that the commission received the honor because each one of the 12 cities with which it is linked experienced at least one joint activity.

The oldest and most active of Birmingham’s sister city relationships is with the industrial city of Hitachi, which was forged in 1982 and has been responsible for many student and faculty exchanges.

Birmingham’s other sister cities are located in Zimbabwe, Hungary, Senegal, Italy, Ukraine, China, Czech Republic, Israel, Jordan, Ghana and England.

Established in 1996, Moreson Conferencing was the first company to offer a fully automated dial-in conference option and by the end of the decade offer a web-based component. The company currently offers services in more than 65 countries.

To learn more about Moreson Conferencing, click here.