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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June 9, 2004

  1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs commended, on March 31, the Foreign Minister's Certificate of Commendation in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Japan-US relationship to those who have remarkably contributed toward the better bilateral relations.

    158 recipients (97 individuals and 61 organizations) are mostly U.S. residents (U.S.-based organizations), but include 5 residents in Japan. The areas covered the wide range from politics, business, education, journalism, science and technology, art, sport, to others. The recipients also include those who dedicated themselves to the Japan-U.S. exchanges, including grass root exchanges, and to Japanese-American organizations.

  2. On Tuesday, June 8, Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi held the Award Ceremony of the Foreign Minister's Certificate of Commendation. She conferred the Award to the following recipients who are residing in or visiting Japan. Foreign Minister Kawaguchi expressed her deep gratefulness to the contribution and services of the recipients for strengthening the friendship and goodwill between the two countries. She also stated that as represented in the variety of fields the recipients are involved, the exchanges between Japan and the United States are touching upon all different walks of life.

As for the recipients residing in the United States, the Award is being conferred through the Embassy and Consulates General of Japan in the United States.

(Recipients Attended (by alphabetical order))

Mr. Jake Shimabukuro (Musician: Ukulele player)
Mr. Shimabukuro is leading the new scene of Japan-U.S. cultural exchange especially among the younger generations with his advanced musical technique, projecting a unique vibe of ukulele music highly appraised and popular in both Japan and the U.S. Mr. Shimabukuro is also setting an example for a lasting Japan-U.S. relationship through various activities such as donating the sales profits from his CD to the Ehime Maru Fund.

Ms. Keiko Matsui (Musician: Jazz Pianist)
Ms. Matsui with her world-class musical talent has greatly contributed to improving the image of Japan in the US, having worked in the US as a jazz pianist. Ms. Matsui has also deepened the friendship between Japan and the US through increasing the public awareness in the US of Japanese people.

Mr. Masanori Murakami (Former US Major League Baseball Player)
Mr. Murakami is the first Japanese in history to play on a Major League baseball team in the US (San Francisco Giants) and marked 5 wins, 1 loss and 9 saves with 100 strikeouts over a two-year period. At the time, the US raved about this Japanese baseball player and he was known to the people by the name "Masshi." As the first Japanese Major League baseball player, Mr. Murakami created the foundation for the stream of Japanese baseball players who are now playing in the Major League and greatly contributed to Japan-US exchange in the area of sports.

Mr. Mamoru Mohri (Director, National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Nippon Kagaku Miraikan); Astronaut, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA))
Mr. Mohri engaged in research at the Center for Microgravity and Materials Research of the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1987, and flew on a space shuttle as the first Japanese science astronaut in 1992. Mr. Mohri conducted 43 experiments together with the American crew members while in orbit. Mr. Mohri flew into space again in 2000 and is highly esteemed for his contribution as a pioneer of space science and technology exchange between Japan and the US.

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