Japan has named former Union Minister Ashwani Kumar for its prestigious 'Order of the Rising Sun' award for his contribution to fostering Japan-India ties. Ashwani Kumar is politician and attorney who formerly had served as Member of Rajya Sabha. He formerly had served as Union Minister of Law and Justice. He was Accompanying Minister to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he visited India in 2007. He was Chairman of the FICCI India-Japan Forum of Parliamentarians established during the visit of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to India in 2005. Kumar also has contributed in promoting of Japan-India relations in the field of Science and Technology, as Council member of the STS Forum.
The Order of the Rising Sun, established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji, is the highest category of decoration, in recognition of distinguished accomplishments of individuals. It is awarded to those who have made distinguished achievements in the following fields: international relations, promotion of Japanese culture, development in welfare, advancements in their field or preservation of the environment. Prior to the end of World War II, it was also awarded for exemplary military service. Beginning in 2003, the two lowest rankings (7th and 8th classes) for the Order of the Rising Sun were abolished, with the highest degree becoming a separate order known as the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, with the single rank of Grand Cordon. Importantly, the noted Indian Industrialist Mr. Ratan Tata was also conferred the decoration in the past.