The government is set to present two baseball icons — former New York Yankees and Yomiuri Giants slugger Hideki Matsui and former Giants player and manager Shigeo Nagashima — with the People's Honor Award on Sunday at Matsui's retirement ceremony in Tokyo Dome.

From athletes, singers and composers to a manga artist and actors, the award has been bestowed on those who have made tremendous achievements in their careers and are widely adored by the public.

But the accolade has often drawn criticism for its vague nomination criteria and opaque selection process, as well as for its perceived use as a political tool to boost the government's popularity.