National

4,632 people win awards for contributing to Japan

The government announced Sunday a list of 4,605 Japanese and 27 foreign nationals to be decorated this autumn for their contributions to the state and society.

Former U.S. Defense Secretary William J. Perry and former South Korean Speaker of the National Assembly Jung Nae Hyuk are among six recipients of the highest decoration this autumn, the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.

Perry, 75, will be recognized for his contribution to strengthening the Japan-U.S. security arrangement, while Jung, 76, will receive the honor for his contribution to the security of Japan and economic interchange and friendship between Japan and South Korea.

The four other recipients of the order are former or current lawmakers of the House of Representatives, including Hiromu Nonaka, 77, former chief Cabinet secretary and member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

The 27 foreign recipients, including seven women, are from 14 countries. Eight are from the United States, four each from China and Germany, and one each from Argentina, Israel, Australia, Canada, Spain, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Nicaragua, Finland, Mongolia and Russia.

The second highest accolade — the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure — will go to four foreign nationals, including Australian John Theodore Ralph.

Ralph, 70, former president of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee, will be recognized for his contribution to closer economic relations between Japan and Australia.

The three other foreign recipients are Song Jian, 73, former minister of China’s State Science and Technology Commission, Yang Zhenya, 74, former Chinese ambassador to Japan, and Emilio Alvarez Montalvan, 83, Nicaragua’s former foreign minister.

The three are cited for the promotion of friendly relations between Japan and their countries.

Junichi Nishizawa, 76, former president of Tohoku University, and former Kyoto Gov. Teiichi Aramaki, 71, are among the nine Japanese who will receive the same decoration.

Of the 4,605 Japanese recipients, only 279 women will receive decorations.

Also, despite criticism that people working for public bodies are overrepresented among the recipients, the ratio of recipients from the private sector still accounted for 34.7 percent, according to the list released by the Cabinet Office.

The scandal-hit Foreign Ministry refrained from recommending any former officials for Japan’s biannual decorations for the fourth consecutive time, the Cabinet Office said.

Recipients of the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun and the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure will receive their decorations from Emperor Akihito on Thursday at the Imperial Palace, while recipients of second-tier orders will receive them from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the palace the same day.

Other recipients will receive decorations from Cabinet ministers sometime between Nov. 8 and 12.