Ambassador Fujisaki greets Japanese pop group AKB48 in Washington in March. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Dean Acheson once said that in order to be a successful statesman, you must be dull,” Hand told Fujisaki last week. “Dull you have not been.”

Boring, no. Fun, yes. The Japanese envoy and his wife, Yoriko, became favorites on Embassy Row for dispensing with his nation’s typical formality and throwing open the embassy for a series of light-hearted cultural exchanges and events. Their black Labrador Retriever — the dearly departed Skipper, whom they fostered as a puppy and re-adopted after he retired from a bomb-sniffing career — wore black tie at their parties and became a celebrity in Japan. Regulars on the city’s social circuit, the couple spearheaded several events in the U.S. last year to benefit victims of Japan’s tsunami.

The Fujisaki family with their dog Skipper at Lake Geneva. (Akira Mase)

The Fujisakis are staying in the U.S. through Election Day to smooth the transition for his successor. Like a true diplomat, he politely refused to say which presidential candidate he’s rooting for. “People ask me which candidate my country prefers,” he said. “It’s like a Christmas gift. You don’t say anything until you open it, then say, ‘It’s just what I wanted.’”

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