Tue. Jan 28th, 2020

Order of the Rising Sun awardee honored by family, friends

Former Palau Ambassador to Japan Minoru Francisco Xavier Ueki (left) shared a photo with a guest during the dinner party organized by his family and friends to honor recognition bestowed upin him by the Japan government through the Order of the Rising Sun award. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)

Family and friends of former Palau Ambassador to Japan Minoru Francisco Xavier Ueki organized a dinner party on December 22 at the Marina Café Vita to honor the recognition bestowed on him by the Japan government through the Order of the Rising Sun award.

Former Ambassador Ueki, 88, recalled in his speech during the dinner party how he almost fell off his chair upon hearing the news that he was one of the few individuals around the world who were accorded the prestigious award this year.

“I couldn’t believe it. I know many of you has been doing almost the same thing to strengthen the relationship between Japan and Palau but to be selected, you know, I think this is the best thing [that happened in my life] – 88 years of life, but this is the best,” Ueki said in his speech, adding that his happiness was even more amplified as distinguished people and friends shared the recognition with him.

Ueki also recalled the experience he had in negotiating with Palauans to allow Japan to take the bones of Japanese soldiers who perished in the country during World War 2 in exchange for building monuments in historical sites.

“Whatever I did, I did for us, I did for Palau,” Ueki said as he recollected memories of him serving as ambassador with an ambition of bringing Palau out to the world and establishing good impressions for the country.

Ueki was one of the few foreign nationals accorded by the Japanese government the prestigious award which is given only to those who have distinguished achievements in international relations and promotion of Japanese culture, among others.

The Japanese government announced the foreign recipients of the 2018 Autumn Imperial Decorations last November 3.

Ueki is a second-generation Japanese descendant who had been appointed as Palau’s Ambassador to Japan for almost four years beginning 2009 until 2013. He previously served as a Senator and a Minister of Education prior to his stint as ambassador.

During his term as Ambassador, he contributed in further strengthening the bilateral relations between Japan and Palau, and had dedicated time and attention in promoting people-to-people exchanges. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)