Former Palau Ambassador to Japan Dr. Minoru Francisco Xavier Ueki was presented with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star on December 13, in recognition of his dedication and services to the expanding Japan-Palau relations at the 85th Emperor’s Birthday reception in Palau Royal Resort.

Japan’s Emperor has conferred the 2018 Autumn Imperial Decorations upon 135 foreign nationals who have been dedicated to fostering ties between Japan and their own countries in a range of fields. Dr. Ueki has been awarded for the critical role he has played in strengthening bilateral relations and promoting friendship between Japan and Palau in various fields.

At the presentation ceremony, Ambassador Toshiyuki Yamada presented Dr. Ueki with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, and the Patent of Decoration to which the Seal of State was affixed at the Imperial Palace. Among the distinguished guests were H.E. President Remengesau, Ibedul, H.E. Former President Toribiong,Honorable Vice-President Oilouch, Honorable Minister Marugg, Honorable Minister Temengil and H.E. the US Ambassador Hyatt.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Yamada introduced a congratulatory message from Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Kono, and expressed his deepest gratitude to Dr. Ueki for being so supportive of Japan’s people-to-people exchange, which was not only between Congress members but also between students and professors. Ambassador Yamada also appreciated that Dr. Ueki made many speeches about Japan-Palau history with introducing his own experience and background as a second generation of Japanese descendant. Ambassador Yamada said he was sure that many Japanese were impressed by Dr. Ueki’s experience and special feelings to Japan, and learned a lot from him about the important history and relations between Japan and Palau that we should never forget. Moreover, Ambassador Yamada thanked him for supporting the Japanese-Palauans, Japanese war-bereaved families who wish to visit Palau after WWII, and Japanese community here in Palau. Dr. Ueki helped the Japanese to start a tour agency here in Palau, which has been supporting Japanese companies to operate business smoothly, and he assisted the establishment of Japanese language supplementary school where the children of Japanese residents in Palau study. On behalf of Japanese residents, Ambassador Yamada expressed his appreciation to Dr. Ueki’s heartfelt dedication to the Japanese community here in Palau.

In his acceptance speech, Dr. Ueki extended his heartfelt thanks to His Majesty the Emperor of Japan for this award; acknowledged that this award is a result of Japan-Palau close collaborations and it is for Palau, his family and the founding members of Sakura-kai who were no longer with him. He appreciated to the Government of Palau, the Government of Japan, the people of Palau and his Japanese friends and associates, and wished to be as helpful as possible to continue to promote unity and friendship between two countries’ people by inspiring the third, fourth, and fifth generation Japanese-Palauan descendants to learn about their Japanese heritage.

Dr. Tellei, President of Palau Community College, made congratulatory remarks. He said “since tonight is a special occasion for Dr. Ueki, let’s shine a light on him,” and went on to give a quite impressive background history of Dr. Ueki, starting with his education to his different accomplishments and roles he played in his public services as well as in his political career. Dr. Tellei also mentioned, even in the private sector, Dr. Ueki started a tour agency to bring in Japanese tourist to Palau, and that agency have grown into one of the biggest tour company in Palau. After mentioning these many accomplishments in Dr. Ueki’s life and career, Dr. Tellei expressed his deep respect and appreciation to Dr. Ueki for his significant contribution to promote Japan-Palau friendship, and that Palau is proud of Dr. Ueki, because news about him receiving such a prestigious decoration from His Majesty also honors and elevates the reputation of the Republic of Palau as a whole.

The year of 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Palau. This award was made to celebrate the upcoming important year and commemorates the strong friendship between Japan-Palau. (PR)