Pace Receives Japanese Emperor’s Rising Sun Award
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
TOKYO, Aug. 18, 2007 The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff received one of Japan’s most prestigious awards here yesterday for his work to strengthen the U.S.-Japanese alliance.
Japanese Defense Minister Yuriko Koike offers a toast in honor of U.S. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Japanese Ministry of Defense in Tokyo, Aug. 17, 2007. Koike had presented Pace with one of Japan’s highest honors, the Grand Cordon of the Rising Sun. Photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Japanese Emperor Akihito approved awarding the Grand Cordon of the Rising Sun to Marine Gen. Peter Pace, and personally signed the proclamation.
Japanese Defense Minister Yuriko Koike presided at the medal conferment ceremony at the Ministry of Defense. Pace accepted the award on behalf of the thousands of American servicemembers and their families who work every day to make the U.S.-Japanese Treaty work.
“I deeply appreciate the honor,” Pace said during the ceremony in Koike’s office. “It is not about me, but about the thousands of U.S. servicemembers who are guests in your country and work alongside the Japanese Self-defense Force.”
He asked Koike to tell the emperor how humbled he was to receive the award, and how much he appreciates the honor.
During the ceremony, Koike cited Pace’s efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Japanese Mutual Assistance and Cooperation Treaty. The general was recognized for his efforts to improve the military-to-military relationship between the treaty allies, his work to improve interoperability between the militaries of the two countries and the agreement to realign U.S. forces in Japan.
Koike said Japan will continue to cooperate with the international community “and play our role in the fight against terrorism.” She said the shared values and belief in freedom of Japan and America make the alliance particularly powerful.
In a conversation with the minister after the ceremony, Pace said that although challenges lay ahead of the alliance, the “wonderful, long friendship strengthens both countries, so that no one on the planet can cause permanent harm to both our societies.”
Pace and his family lived in Japan when he served as the deputy commander of U.S. Forces Japan from 1994 to 1996.
Koike noted that the chairman will be retiring from the Marine Corps Oct. 1, but she said “the friendship between Japan and Gen. Peter Pace will go on forever.”