Award Ceremony of the Foreign Minister's Certificate of Commendation in Commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Japan-US Relationship

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September 14, 2004

  1. On September 14, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held the Award Ceremony of the Foreign Minister's Certificate of Commendation in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Japan-US exchange to recognize three recipients, who have made remarkable contribution to better bilateral relations.

    An award ceremony had previously been held at the Ministry on June 8, 2004 for those residing in or visiting Japan. The award ceremony on September 14, 2004 was convened to confer the Award to the three individuals who had not been able to attend the first ceremony on June 8.

  2. At the award ceremony, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Isao Matsumiya conferred the Foreign Minister's Certificate of Commendation as well as a silver cup to the recipients, on behalf of Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoriko Kawaguchi.

    The commendations are to be conferred on the individuals at an appropriate time at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its establishments in the US. Of the 158 recipients (97 individuals and 61 organizations) in Japan and the US whose commendations were announced on March 31, 2004, the award ceremony on September 14, 2004 was arranged for three individuals; Mr. Isao Aoki, Ms. Hisako Higuchi and Ms. Ayako Okamoto. Ms. Ayako Okamoto was represented at the ceremony.

(Reference: Recipients Attended (by alphabetical order))

Mr. Isao Aoki (Professional golfer)
In 1983, Mr. Aoki was the first Japanese to win the US PGA Tour title. He has also won championships in the senior division nine times and the super senior division three times. His accomplishments have influenced many Japanese golfers and stimulated Japanese people's interest in golf in the US. Mr. Aoki is well-known in the US and is serving as a bridge between Japanese and American golf.

Ms. Hisako Higuchi (Former professional golfer)
Ms. Higuchi was the pioneer for golf exchanges between Japan and the US. In 1977, she became the first Asian golfer to win a major US championship and also the first Asian golfer to become a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003. Even after retiring as a golfer, she still influences Japanese and the American golfers as the head of the Ladies Professional Golfers' Association of Japan.

Ms. Ayako Okamoto (Professional golfer)
Ms. Okamoto won her first US tour title at the Arizona Copper Classic in 1982. She became the first non-American LPGA top prize money winner in 1987 and henceforth won 17 championships on the US LGPA Tour. Her performance has greatly influenced the golf scenes of both Japan and the US and contributed to facilitating the American people's understanding of Japan.

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