Former U.S. Ambassador To Receive One Of Japan’s Highest Awards
TOKYO (AP) _ The Japanese Cabinet decided today to confer one of Japan’s highest decorations on Mike Mansfield, who recently retired as U.S. ambassador to Japan after 11 years in Tokyo, the Foreign Ministry said.
Mansfield will receive the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, Paulownia Flowers, the highest award bestowed on foreign recipients of Japanese government decorations, ministry officials said.
Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita plans to present the medal to Mansfield when he visits Washington next week for talks with President Bush, the officials said.
According to the ministry, only seven foreign dignitaries have received the paulownia flowers decoration. They include kings from Thailand, Nepal, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, former West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander-in-chief of allied forces in post-war Japan.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Keizo Obuchi told reporters that Mansfield will be honored in recognition of his ″outstanding contribution he has rendered to further cement friendly relations″ between the two countries.
When Mansfield left Tokyo on Dec. 23, the 85-year-old former senator said, ″Much remains to be done. However, the foundation has been laid. I am confident that our governments and our peoples have the means and the will to find the solutions that will ensure even closer cooperation in the years to come.″