Ex-U.S. defense chief Leon Panetta among 136 to be decorated by Japanese government


Former U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian are among 136 people recognized in this year’s autumn decorations for notable contributions to relations with Japan, the government said Sunday.

The foreign recipients from 66 countries and one region also include James Zumwalt, former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Japan.

Panetta, 81, and Le Drian, 72, will receive the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun. Zumwalt, 63, will be bestowed with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon.

Of the 4,113 Japanese recipients, 1,967 or 47.8 percent, are from the private sector and 411, or 10 percent, are women, the highest such numbers and proportions since the honors system was reformed in 2003.

Former House of Councilors President Chuichi Date, 80, will receive the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, the highest decoration to be awarded this time.

Former Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, 74, will receive the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.

Actor Akira Emoto, 71, will be given the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette and potter Hiroaki Morino, 85, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon.

The decorations will be conferred at the Imperial Palace on Thursday, with Emperor Naruhito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in attendance.



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