OSAKA — Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has granted decorations to two Japanese corporate executives in Osaka Prefecture in recognition of their companies’ investments in his country.

Verhofstadt gave the awards to Kenji Aida, chairman of Osaka-based Nippon Shokubai Co., and Hideki Yamamoto, president of Nitto Denko Corp. in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, Saturday during a reception at an Osaka hotel.

The prime minister expressed hope that more Japanese companies will invest in Belgium and pledged to improve the country’s investment environment.

He inspected a production line at National Bicycle Industrial Co. in Kashiwara in the prefecture earlier in the day.

Verhofstadt plans to leave Japan on Monday shortly after bidding farewell to the Emperor.

The Belgian leader arrived in Japan on Wednesday and met Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori on Thursday. During his visit he met a number of Japanese business executives.

About 250 Japanese companies are operating in Belgium, making Japan the second-largest investor in the European nation after the United States.

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