Taipei, April 29 (CNA) The Japanese government will confer the second highest honors for foreigners on two Taiwanese for the first time since 1972 when Taiwan and Japan severed diplomatic links, Japan's representative office in Taiwan said Sunday.
Chinatrust Financial Holding Co. Chairman Jeffrey Koo and Evergreen Group Chairman Chang Yung-fa will be decorated with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star for their contribution to Japan-Taiwan relations, the office said.
Koo and Chang will attend the award ceremony May 8 at Tokyo Imperial Palace, where they will be received by Emperor Akihito. The honors will be conferred by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.
Koo was recognized by the Japanese government for his role in helping Taiwan and Japan ink a free-trade agreement last year, according to the Taipei office of Interchange Association, Japan's de facto embassy in Taiwan in the absence of official relationship between the two countries.
Chang, founder of the Evergreen group, has donated funds to cancer research projects in Japan and his company has helped improved Japan's economy, the office said.
The two entrepreneurs were also recognized by Japanese government for their assistance following a massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated northern Japan last year.
Meanwhile, Tsai Hsueh-ni, president of the Sino-Ryukyuan Cultural and Economic Association will be decorated with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette.
Pu Wu-hsiung, a former Taiwanese employee who worked at the Japan embassy in Taiwan, will receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays medal.
At the ceremony, Japan will honor 47 foreign individuals from 26 countries around the world, including the United States, the office said.
The eight-pointed badge of honor, which is divided into six classes, has been conferred on non-Japanese recipients since 1981.
The honors are granted in spring and autumn each year based on recommendations by Japan's representative offices in foreign counties and are subject to approval by the Japan government.
(By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Hanna Liu)