Emperor Akihito on Wednesday presented 18 people with spring awards in a ceremony at the Imperial Palace.

The highest decoration this spring, the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, went to seven people, including Hideyuki Aizawa, 82, former head of the Financial Reconstruction Commission, and former Toyota Motor Corp. Chairman Shoichiro Toyoda, 77, who is also former chairman of the Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren).

Hankyu Corp. Chairman Kohei Kobayashi, 74; former Tokyo Electric Power Co. Chairman Sho Nasu, 77; and former Tochigi Gov. Fumio Watanabe, 73, were among 11 people awarded the fourth-highest Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure.

The Emperor, who had canceled some of his recent engagements due to a cold, attended the ceremony as scheduled and presented the awards. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi gave each recipient a certificate.

Aizawa represented the recipients in an address to the Emperor.

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