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Politics

Mahathir, Cheney among decoration recipients in Japan

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad receives a Japanese national football jersey as a present from his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe during their joint press remarks at Abe's official residence in Tokyo on June 12.   © Reuters

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen are among the foreign recipients from 58 countries and regions.

Mahathir, 93, who promoted his "Look East" policy of learning from Japan's work ethic while in office between 1981 and 2003, will receive the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, the highest decoration to be awarded this fall. He returned to office this year.

Cheney, 77, and Cohen, 78, joined other former senior U.S. officials who have been decorated in Japan for their roles in enhancing the security alliance between the two countries. Both of them will be conferred the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.

Among Japanese recipients, Takashi Imai, former president of what is now part of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp., and Juro Saito, a former president of the House of Councillors, will receive the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers.

Imai, 88, also headed Japan's most powerful business lobby Keidanren, or the Japan Business Federation. Saito, 78, presided over the upper house for five years from 1995.

Singer Hiroshi Itsuki, 70, whose real name is Kazuo Matsuyama, former Toyota Motor Corp. President Katsuaki Watanabe, 76, and Koichi Sugiyama, 87, music composer for the popular video game series "Dragon Quest" are among other Japanese to be decorated.

The award ceremony will be held at the Imperial Palace on Tuesday, with Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in attendance.

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