The 10th Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK) officially conferred the honorary citizenship title to Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa during the joint session on April 13.

An honorary citizenship is a status given by a country to a foreigner whom it considers commendable.

In his speech before the members of the OEK and President Tommy Remengesau, Jr., Sasakawa said that he is deeply honored to receive the honorary citizenship of the Republic of Palau and to be given the opportunity to speak at the National Congress.

The Nippon Foundation is among the organizations that generously support Palau. The latest aid it has given to Palau was the donation of the patrol boat, PSS Kedam, which cost more than $30 million, three other smaller patrol boats and the construction of the new administrative building for the Division of Marine Law Enforcement (DMLE).

“As neighboring island countries with deep historic ties, I have always felt that Japan and Palau are ideal partners in addressing these (climate change, depletion of marine resources, pollution et al.) and other ocean issues,” Sasakawa said.

 The Nippon Foundation is fully committed to continue our support to protect the waters of Palau. And I believe that our partnership will lead the international community in protecting the world’s oceans,” Sasakawa added.

The honorary citizenship is a status rarely given by the Palau government to foreigners. In the past, few other individuals who were bestowed the same title were United States Senator John McCain, Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Former Ambassador Stuart Beck, Prince Albert of Monaco, and Dr. William Viteralei, among others. (Rhealyn C. Pojas/Reporter)