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November 3, 2016 2:16 pm

2 Israelis to Receive Emperor’s ‘Order of Rising Sun’ Medal From Japanese Government for Bolstering Cultural Ties

avatar by Ruthie Blum

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Two Order of the Rising Sun Medals. Photo: Wikipedia.

Two Order of the Rising Sun Medals. Photo: Wikipedia.

Two Israelis will be among 96 foreign recipients of this year’s “Order of the Rising Sun” medal from the Japanese government, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Thursday.

According to the report, Prof. Meron Medzini and architect Arie Kutz will be awarded the honor in an upcoming ceremony at the home of Japanese Ambassador to Israel Koji Tomita.

Medzini, 84 — an associate professor of East Asian studies at Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a former director of Israel’s Government Press Office — is being granted the honor for his contribution to the promotion of Japanese studies in Israel.

Kutz, an urban planner and chairman of the Israel-Japan Friendship Association, is receiving the honor for his advancement of relations and mutual understanding between Japan and Israel.

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The Order of the Rising Sun — established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji and the first national decoration awarded by the Japanese government — is bestowed upon individuals who have made unique contributions in international relations, the promotion of Japanese culture, social welfare or environmental protection. The badges of honor are bestowed by the bureau of medals in the Japanese prime minister’s office, in the name of Emperor Akihito, who has served in that role since the death of his father in 1989.

The emperor is the ceremonial head of the country’s constitutional monarchy.

Israel’s relations with Japan, which began in 1952, but were only made official in 1963 with an exchange of ambassadors, have been warming since 2015, when declining oil prices made trade relations with Arab states and Iran less crucial for the Asian economic powerhouse.

Moves to increase cooperation in the fields of high-tech and defense have been underway since last year.

In May 2014, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a four-day visit to Japan, the focus of which was technology.

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