Government considers ‘Miura Award’ in mountaineer’s honor

JIJI

The government is thinking about creating the “Miura Award” to mark 80-year-old adventurer Yuichiro Miura’s successful climbing of Mount Everest last week, informed sources said.

The award would be presented to older people who make remarkable achievements, the sources said Thursday.

Culture and sports ministers Hakubun Shimomura said at a news conference May 24 that he wanted to discuss with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga the possibility of granting Miura an award for becoming, again, the oldest person to climb the world’s tallest mountain.

It had been expected Miura would be given the People’s Honor Award. However, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in just six months has already granted the award to three sportsmen — the late sumo great Taiho and baseball players Shigeo Nagashima and Hideki Matsui.

Some officials close to the prime minister have expressed concern that granting the award again so soon could be attacked as a political ploy to boost his public support ahead of the Upper House election.

Reflecting such concerns, a government official clarified Thursday that Abe will not be giving the People’s Honor Award to Miura.

Instead, the government came up with the idea of creating a new award that will bear Miura’s name. It will be used to encourage older people striving toward long-term goals, an official said.

Still, it can’t be ruled out that this plan will likewise be criticized as a cynical campaign tactic, pundits pointed out.