Japanese emperor honors INDOPACOM commander with Order of the Rising Sun
By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 12, 2021
TOKYO — Japanese Emperor Naruhito has awarded one of his country’s highest honors to the leader of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command for contributions to the U.S.-Japanese alliance.
The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun was presented to Adm. Phil Davidson by Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi during a short ceremony Monday at the Ministry of Defense in Tokyo.
The award, established in 1875 by the Emperor Meiji, is Japan’s third-highest honor and recognizes achievements in various fields, including international relations, promotion of Japanese culture, social welfare and environmentalism. Past American recipients include former Navy officer and diplomat Harry Harris, who led INDOPACOM immediately before Davidson, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Top military leaders, including U.S. Forces Japan commander Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider and Japanese Joint Staff Chief Gen. Koji Yamazaki, were on hand for the award presentation that saw Davidson don a red and white sash and a glittering badge symbolizing rays from the rising sun.
Earlier, Davidson reviewed Japanese troops and met with Yamazaki and other top Japanese military leaders.
After the ceremony, Davidson sat down for talks with Kishi and other U.S. and Japanese officials.
“The alliance is stronger now than it has ever been,” Davidson told Kishi. “There has never been more motivation for Japan and the U.S. to work closely.”
Yamazaki, at the earlier meeting had noted North Korean ballistic missile tests and illicit cargo transfers aimed at busting United Nations sanctions imposed due to the communist state’s nuclear weapons program. He also pointed out “invigorated” Chinese military activity around Japan, including in the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
Bilateral cooperation between Japan and the U.S. has deepened rapidly amid an “increasingly severe” security situation in the region in recent years, Kishi told Davidson.
“I firmly believe the U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of peace and stability here in the Pacific,” Davidson responded. “The alliance must stand ready to confront all emerging threats to peace and stability and protect an international order based on the rule of law.