Japan bestows top award on Somare

Papua New Guinea's former prime minister  Sir Michael Somare last Friday received the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun - Japan’s highest award to foreigners.
Sir Michael was accompanied by his wife Lady Veronica to receive the award.
It was given in recognition of Sir Michael’s invaluable contribution to the relationship between Japan and PNG.
It includes the establishment of diplomatic relations built upon mutual trust and understanding in 1975 during the early stages of independence.
Sir Michael had hosted Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and Akie Abe in Wewak in July last year.
In Tokyo, Sir Michael met Hiroshi Nakamura, the vice-chairman of the Japan-PNG Association, and Toru Ida, group manager of Sumitomo Forestry Co Ltd. Sir Michael  met Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of the Japan Foundation, Masao Horie, chairman of the World War II Japan Eastern New Guinea campaign Bereaved Families Association.
He met the wife of Captain Yukio Shibata, the late Japanese soldier who taught Sir Michael in school.
Sir Michael thanked Japan for the award.
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