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Baseball superstar Ichiro Suzuki has done it again.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told a regular news conference Friday that the government unofficially offered the Major League Baseball player the prestigious People’s Honor Award, only to have Ichiro turn it down — for the second time in three years.

By way of explanation, Ichiro said that accepting the award could reduce his motivation for playing baseball, according to Hosoda. Ichiro said he would be honored to receive the award after he finished his career as a player, Hosoda added.

The government unofficially sounded him out about the award in 2001, but Ichiro, who is widely known by his first name, declined, saying he was too young and had yet to complete his baseball career.

“He, as he did three years ago, has a strong will to make a great advance for the future. We don’t interpret (Ichiro’s words) to mean that he will not one day accept such an award,” Hosoda said.

In 2001, Ichiro finished his first year in the U.S. with the top batting average and the most stolen bases. This year, he broke the MLB’s single-season hits record.

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