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Summary of the Honors System

Decorations

Decorations are bestowed upon individuals in recognition of their services to the nation or public.

Biannual Decoration Ceremonies

Decorations are awarded to commendable persons over the age of 70, and to individuals over the age of 55, recognized for their diligence in areas away from the public eye.Held twice a year on April 29 and November 3, approximately 4,000 decorations are conferred at each ceremony.

Conferment for Person with Dangerous Occupations

In addition to the Biannual Decoration Ceremonies, decorations are conferred on police officers, Self-Defense Force officers and other persons in high-risk professions over the age of 55, in recognition of their services. Held twice a year on April 29 and November 3, approximately 3,600 decorations are conferred at each ceremony.

Decoration Ceremonies for the Elderly

Meritorious individuals who have not received honors in the Biannual Decoration Ceremonies are conferred decorations at the age of 88.

Posthumous Decoration Ceremonies

Aside from the Biannual Decoration Ceremonies, decorations are conferred posthumously to commendable individuals when the occasion arises.

Decoration Ceremonies for Foreigners

Two types of decorations are awarded to foreigners: ceremonial decorations presented to state guests upon arrival, or to diplomats leaving office, and decorations conferred on foreigners who have made notable contributions to enhance bilateral relations.The latter is conferred concurrently with the Biannual Decoration Ceremonies, or upon arrival or departure.

Order of Culture

This order is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in developing the Japanese culture. Held once a year on Culture Day, November 3, approximately five orders are presented annually.

Medals of Honor

Biannual Conferment of Medals

Five of the six types of medals are coferred biannually on April 29 for the spring and on November 3 for the autumn, concurrently with the Biannual Conferment of Decorations. These medals are : the Medal with Red Ribbon, awarded to individuals who have risked their own lives to save others ; the Medal with Green Ribbon, awarded to morally remarkable individuals who have actively taken part in serving society ; the Medal with Yellow Ribbon, awarded to individuals who, through their diligence and perseverance, became public role models ; the Medal with Purple Ribbon, awarded to individuals who have contributed to academic and artistic developments, improvements and accomplishments ; the Medal with Blue Ribbon, awarded to individuals who have made prosperous efforts in the areas of public welfare and education.

Medal with Dark Blue Ribbon

The Medal with Dark Blue Ribbon is awarded to individuals who have made exceptionally generous financial contributions for the good of the public.It is conferred when the occasion arises, after the Decoration Bureau of the Cabinet Office has screened the candidates recommended by relevant ministries.

Bereaved Family Award

In case the individuals eligible for awards under the Ordinance of Medals have passed away, they are awarded posthumously through the coferment of cups or meritorious mention on their families.

Cabinet Office, Government of Japan1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8914, Japan. Tel: +81-3-5253-2111