Two retired nurses were awarded the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Florence Nightingale Medal on Wednesday in a ceremony in Tokyo to honor their contributions to the profession, officials of the Japanese Red Cross Society said.

One of the medals went to Shigeru Ishimoto, 87, who became a House of Councilors member after her nursing career and once served as director general of the Environment Agency, now the Environment Ministry.

The other went to Matsuno Teramoto, 84, former head nurse at Tenshi (Angel) Hospital in Sapporo and the International Catholic Hospital in Tokyo.

Female members of the Imperial family, including the Empress — the honorary president of the Japanese Red Cross Society — and the Crown Princess — the honorary vice president of the society — attended the ceremony. at a society facility.

A representative of Ishimoto received her medal because she is currently undergoing medical treatment.

The biennial award was granted to 31 people from 16 countries this year, including the two Japanese, the society said.

The medals are given by the Swiss-based International Committee of the Red Cross to honor male and female nurses and voluntary care workers. The award is considered the top honor for nurses and care workers.

The Empress said after conferring the medals that she hopes the character and achievements of the two nurses will be emulated by others in the profession.

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