Ex-PMs of France, Namibia, Filipino senator honored by Japan

Former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and former Namibian Prime Minister Theo-Ben Gurirab and Edgardo Angara, former Senate President of the Philippines and currently a senator, are among the 40 foreign nationals named as recipients of Japan's annual spring decorations, the government said Monday.

Fillon, 59, Gurirab, 75, and Angara, 78, were selected for the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.

The 40 recipients including seven women from 23 countries and areas are among the 4,099 people chosen for decorations this year.

The highest award -- the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers -- has been given only to former Japanese Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata, 77.

Among Japanese recipients of the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun are 71-year-old Yasuko Ikenobo, former senior vice minister of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and Haruo Uematsu, 81, former chairman of the Japan Medical Association.

Among Japanese recipients of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette are 73-year-old television director Yasuo Tsuruhashi, actress Chieko Baisho, 71, Kabuki actor Sawamura Tanosuke, 80, and poet Gozo Yoshimasu, 74, the government said.

From the academic field, Emiko Adachi, the 75-year-old professor emeritus of Chiba University who developed a new method for optic nerve transplant, was chosen for the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon.

Women account for 364, or 8.9 percent, of all the recipients.

The award ceremony will be held on May 9 at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo with Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in attendance.

==Kyodo