• Kyodo

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Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, is one of 124 foreign nationals recognized in this year’s fall decorations for enhancing friendship with Japan, the government said Wednesday.

Kennedy, 63, who served as the U.S. envoy from 2013 to 2017, will be bestowed with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, the highest honor to be conferred in the fall commendations.

“Most of all, I will always treasure the warm welcome I received from the Japanese people, their friendship and willingness to teach me about their beautiful country, its dazzling culture, and ancient traditions,” Kennedy said in a statement.

She also said she will “forever be grateful for the privilege of serving as the United States Ambassador, and for the chance to strengthen relations between two close allies who share a fundamental commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.”

Kennedy is also an attorney and the editor of 11 best-selling books on constitutional law, American history, politics and poetry, according to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Among the 124 recipients, who hail from 53 countries and regions, 22 are women.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy | KYODO
Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy | KYODO

Four other foreign nationals besides Kennedy will be granted the highest honor, including former head of Taiwan’s legislature Wang Jin-pyng, 80, who headed the island’s delegation to Japan following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

British-born Australian singer and actress Olivia Newton-John, 73, will receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.

In addition, 4,036 Japanese nationals will be recognized this fall, with 1,948, or 48.3%, from the private sector.

Nobuo Kuroyanagi, 79, former president of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, now MUFG Bank, and Hiroaki Takahashi, 80, former president of Tohoku Electric Power Co., will be bestowed with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.

Katsuyo Aikawa, an 81-year-old professor emeritus at Nagasaki University, is one of 401 female honorees, or 9.9% of the total Japanese recipients. She will receive the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon.

Actor Isao Hashizume, 80, script writer Shizuka Oishi, 70, and poet Takayuki Saigusa, 77, are among those set to receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.

Hiroshi Matsumoto, a 78-year-old former president of Kyoto University, is the sole recipient of the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure this fall.

Takao Kondo, a 73-year-old professor emeritus at Nagoya University known for his work on biological rhythm and circadian clocks, will be honored with the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Star, in the field of academic research.

Yoshio Haga, 71, former president of Nippon Paper Industries Co., and Masatoshi Ito, 74, former president of Ajinomoto Co., are among the recipients of the Order of Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, for industry promotion.

The decorations will be conferred at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Tuesday, with Emperor Naruhito bestowing the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun and the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will hand out the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, and the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Star.

This year’s conferment ceremony for spring decorations, postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, will also be conducted on Tuesday.

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