• Kyodo News


U.S. actor and film director Clint Eastwood and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai are among 70 foreign recipients from 32 countries of this year’s spring decorations by the government, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

Maathai, 69, will receive the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, while Eastwood, 78, will be given the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon.

Maathai, a Kenyan, is praised for her role in raising awareness among the Japanese of environmental protection, putting forward the Japanese phrase “mottainai,” meaning, “You should save it.”

Eastwood is hailed for boosting mutual understanding between Japan and the United States through production of smash-hit, award-winning movies.

In 2006, he released two movies based on the fierce World War II Battle of Iwo Jima — “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima.”

The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun will also be given to Lamberto Dini, 78, a former Italian prime minister, Nam Duck Woo, 84, a former South Korean prime minister, and Laurens Jan Brinkhorst, a former Dutch economic minister.

Brinkhorst, 72, served as ambassador and head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Japan from 1982 to 1987. The same award will be given to Joseph Sepp Blatter, 73, president of soccer’s world governing body FIFA. Blatter is a Swiss national.

Arden Bement, 76, director of the National Science Foundation of the United States, will receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star.

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