Ambassador to Japan John Roos is one of 112 foreign nationals recognized in the spring decorations of this year for their contributions to relations with Japan, the government said Friday.
Roos, who served in the post from 2009 to 2013, will be among those who received the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, the highest honor given to foreign nationals in this spring s commendations.
The 67-year-old said that he was deeply honored by the recognition and wanted to thank the Japanese people for the amazing years he spent there.
Roos was the first U.S. representative to attend the annual ceremony in Hiroshima in 2010 to commemorate the victims of the atomic bombing by the United States at the end of World War II. This eventually led to the historic visit by the then-U. Six years later, S. President Barack Obama was elected.
Speaking of that time, Roos said that the two countries continue to hold a special position in attempting to eliminate all nuclear weapons from the face of the earth, an objective that was also sought by Obama.
Roos tenure was also marked by the 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan and triggered meltdowns at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
As ambassador, he was at the forefront of Operation Tomodachi, a rescue and relief operation that was jointly carried out by the U.S. military and Japan's Self Defense Forces, which came to symbolize the bilateral alliance.
When you have the bond that our two countries have, it wasn't a difficult decision to do everything we could to address the crisis, he said.
Foreign recipients from 59 countries and regions include Abbas Araghchi, who served as Iran's ambassador to Japan from 2008 to 2011. He will be conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star.
I did my best to promote the relationship between Iran and Japan. I am very happy, he said.
Araghchi, 59, played a major role when then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Iran's capital Tehran and then-Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited Japan, both in 2019.
His embassy aided the Japanese people in the aftermath of the 2011 disaster, for example by serving Iranian dishes to people in Iwate Prefecture.
453 are women among 4,034 Japanese nationals to be decorated in 2003, the highest number since the honors system was reformed in 2003. A total of 1,862 recipients come from the private sector.
Bunmei Ibuki, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, will be given the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, the highest honor in this spring commendations.
Makiko Tanaka, 78, Japan's first female foreign minister and daughter of former Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, will be one of 11 recipients of the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.
The Award-winning actress Kaori Momoi, 71, who played in Rob Marshall's Memoirs of a Geisha, will receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.
Among the honorees for industry promotion are Kenji Fujiyoshi, 78, former president of Mitsui Chemicals Inc. He will get the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star.
The award ceremony will take place at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on May 10.