The Japanese government announced on June 18 that U.S. Sen. Daniel Ken Inouye (D-Hawai‘i) will receive the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, the highest level of National Orders for ordinary foreigners.
The award recognizes his continued significance and unprecedented contribution to enhancing goodwill and understanding between the two nations, a statement issued by his office said.
Throughout his years in the U.S. Senate, Inouye encouraged official exchanges between the Japanese Diet and the U.S. Senate. He visits Japan once a year. The Nikkei most recently visited Sendai, one of the cities that has been hit the hardest by the March 11 earthquake, tsunami, and ongoing nuclear crisis.
Inouye is the seventh American to receive this award and the first foreigner of Japanese descent to receive it, his office said.
He previously received the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun from the Japanese government in the fall of 1999 for his significant contribution to U.S.-Japan relations with his pioneer role in congress and for the respect he gained for Japanese Americans.
He is also the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Honor, the highest military honor in the United States for his service as a World War II veteran with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
As the most senior member of the U.S. Senate and President Pro-Tempore, Inouye is also third in line for Presidential succession. He also serves as the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.