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Young athletes and volunteers appear prominently in a list of distinguished people from various walks of life to be honored with government medals this autumn, the government has said.

Judo champion Ryoko Tamura, 28, record-breaking swimmer Kosuke Kitajima, 21, and new gymnastics hero Takehiro Kashima, 23, will be given the Medal with Purple Ribbon.

A total of 846 individuals and five groups will be honored.

The government lifted the minimum age limit of 55 as part of an overhaul of the biannual honors system, effective this autumn.

Kitajima is the youngest to receive an award, while 93-year-old Hideko Asakawa, a cleaning servant from Tokushima Prefecture who will be given the Medal with Green Ribbon, is the oldest.

The recipients, to be announced formally Monday, which is Cultural Day, will have an audience with Emperor Akihito on Nov. 13.

Honors for foreigners

A total of 38 non-Japanese citizens and more than 4,000 Japanese will be decorated this fall for their contributions to Japan and Japanese society, according to a government list of award recipients released Sunday.

American George Olah, who won the 1994 Nobel Prize in chemistry, former British Ambassador to Japan Sydney Giffard and nine Japanese will receive the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.

Olah, 76, a distinguished professor at the University of Southern California, will be honored for his contribution to exchanges between Japanese and American academics. Giffard, 77, was chosen for his study and understanding of Japan.

The 38 foreign honorees, including two women, represent 19 countries. Nine come from the United States, three from each of Britain, Canada, France and Germany, and two each from of Belgium, Brazil and Sri Lanka.

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