J. Thomas Schieffer is senior counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. He served as U.S. ambassador to Japan from 2005-2009. During his tenure in Tokyo, he was involved in negotiating the most far-reaching reorganization of the U.S.-Japan alliance since the1960 signing of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. In 2009, Ambassador Schieffer received the Distinguished Public Service Award, the Defense Department’s highest civilian award, in recognition of his work in strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance. Ambassador Schieffer’s diplomatic career began in 2001, when he was appointed U.S. ambassador to Australia. Prior to his diplomatic service, Ambassador Schieffer was an investor in the partnership that bought the Texas Rangers Baseball Club, and he served as team president for eight years. Ambassador Schieffer also has had a long involvement in Texas politics. He was elected to three terms in the Texas House of Representatives and has been active in many political campaigns. Ambassador Schieffer attended the University of Texas, where he earned a BA, an MA, and studied law.