In April 2013, USJC Chairman of the Board Thomas Iino was announced as a recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon. The Government of Japan bestowed upon him this honor for his contributions to strengthening the economic relationship between the U.S. and Japan and for promoting cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the two countries.
The Order of the Rising Sun was established in 1875 as the first national decoration awarded by the Japanese Government. The modern version of this honor has been conferred on non-Japanese recipients beginning in 1981. The awarding of the Order is administered by the Decoration Bureau of the Office of the Prime Minister and is bestowed in the name of the Emperor.
"I am humbled by this recognition from the Government of Japan. I have committed a large part of my life (substantially voluntarily) to assisting the relationship-building process between the U.S. and Japan because it is the right thing to do. Helping lead the U.S.-Japan Council’s mandate to advance this strategy has been a labor of love from the beginning," said Mr. Iino upon hearing the news.
The Consulate-General of Japan in Los Angeles featured the following description about Mr. Iino's U.S.-Japan Council and TOMODACHI contributions:
"He has been a driving force in the U.S.-Japan Council since its founding and currently serving as the Chair of the Board. He has contributed greatly to developing the Japanese American community and people-to-people relationships with Japan through focused programs such as the Japanese American Leadership Delegation and programs addressing commercial, diplomatic and educational exchanges between the two countries. Additionally through the leadership of Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye, Ambassador John Roos and Mr. Iino himself, in 2012 the U.S.-Japan Council established the TOMODACHI Initiative, which aims to support Japan’s recovery after the Great East Japan Earthquake, strengthen long term Japan-U.S. cultural and economic ties and deepen the bilateral friendship. TOMODACHI focuses on investing in future generations and coordinates a variety of exchange programs between Japan and the United States."
More information from Rafu Shimpo here.