Singapore diplomat gets prestigious Japanese honour

Mr Chew Tai Soo (left), who was given the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, greatly aided the growth of Japan-Singapore ties, said the Japanese Embassy.
Mr Chew Tai Soo (left), who was given the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, greatly aided the growth of Japan-Singapore ties, said the Japanese Embassy. PHOTO: INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

A veteran Singaporean diplomat has been conferred a prestigious honour by the Japanese government in recognition of his efforts to promote relations between the two countries.

Mr Chew Tai Soo, 75, who served as Singapore's Ambassador to Japan from 1998 to 2004, received the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, last Friday, the Japanese Embassy said in a statement yesterday.

He also served as coordinator of Singapore's efforts to help the Japanese in the wake of the March 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The relief efforts raised $35.7 million, which is one of the Republic's largest disaster relief contributions to a single country.

The outpouring of support has frequently been held up as an example of close people-to-people ties by the leaders of both countries, most recently by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on his visit to Tokyo last week to commemorate 50 years of bilateral ties.

The Japanese Embassy said Mr Chew has "greatly aided the development of Japan-Singapore relations" and improved mutual understanding between the two countries. He is one of 91 foreign recipients of imperial decorations this spring, the statement added.

Mr Chew joined Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1972 and has also served as Ambassador to France and Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Japan also announced earlier this year that it will posthumously confer its top honour, the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, on Singapore's founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will receive this award on the late Mr Lee's behalf when he visits Japan in September.

Walter Sim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore diplomat gets prestigious Japanese honour'. Print Edition | Subscribe