The Japanese government announced the foreign recipients of the 2019 Spring Imperial Decorations.

Palau’s Former Minister of State Billy Godfried Kuartei has been awarded ‘Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun’.

This award is conferred on him for his distinguished services to strengthening bilateral relations and promoting friendship between Japan and Palau.

Kuartei served as Minister of State for almost four years from 2013 to 2017. During his term as Minister of State, he contributed to further strengthening the bilateral relations between Japan and Palau in various fields such as high-level officials’ visits and cooperation in the international arena.

During the visit of Emperor Emeritus and Empress Emerita’s to Palau in 2015, he played an important role from Palau side to make this visit a successful one.

Furthermore, he was Minister of State when Palau was a chair country at the Seventh Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (PALM7). He worked hard for the success of the meeting by communicating closely with all the member countries.

Moreover, he served as point of contact between Nippon Foundation and Palau, and contributed to the success of the Project for Improvement of the Coast Guard Capability, which has been the largest project ever in Palau conducted by Japanese private sectors.

Kuartei also served as the first Minister of Education after Palau became independent from the U.S., and committed to people-to-people exchange projects by supporting Japanese language education in Palau and visits by elementary and junior high school students from both countries.

He contributed to the construction of Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge (KB Bridge) and Palau International Coral Reef Center, both of which are symbolic projects showing the strong friendship between two nations.

Not only did he contribute to these Japan’s Grant Aid projects, he also cooperated with Japan to launch the dispatch of JICA volunteers to Palau. To promote friendship at grass-roots level between two countries, he suggested that JICA volunteers stay with a host family.

More than twenty years have passed since the start of this program, but the homestay by JICA volunteers is still continuing. During his term as Chief of Staff, he visited Japan to deliver a lecture on many occasions, and have valued a friendly relation with Japan. (PR)