On April 29, 2020 Japan Standard Time, the Government of Japan announced that Mr. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been awarded Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, in recognition of his contributions to Japan and the world in regards to worldwide technological transformation and advancement of global health.
“His dedication and contributions to the welfare of humanity are globally recognized,” Japanese government commented in its prerelease. “The Japanese government is proud to be able to bestow Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, the highest honor bestowed by the Government of Japan to a non-Japanese citizen, to acknowledge and thank him for his outstanding service to the world.”
“I’m grateful to Japan for this honor, and I wish I could receive it in person,” said Bill Gates, co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the foundation’s statement. “I first started traveling to Japan 40 years ago when I was at Microsoft, and back then, I admired the innovative work of Japan’s computer programmers and engineers. Now, I’ve come to respect Japan’s scientists and medical researchers for the same thing. They’ve worked with our foundation to develop new technologies to fight deadly diseases, and that spirit of innovation is why I am confident that humanity will beat this pandemic. I look forward to the day when I, and all who admire the country, will be able to return to Japan.”
Below article is April 28th Press Release from Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle:
Mr. Gates co-founded Microsoft with Mr. Paul Allen in 1975 when still a student at Harvard University. Through Mr. Gates’s work at the company for four decades, he helped bring about a global technological revolution that dramatically changed society’s means of interaction, ushering in a new era where people all over the world can have access to information and communication. Japan is a big beneficiary of such a transformation; Microsoft Japan, the first overseas office for the company, has produced many computer engineers who later developed and shaped Japan’s computer industry.
Mr. Gates and Ms. Melinda Gates established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, generously contributing the fortune they built over years. They together embarked upon an unprecedented philanthropic venture to ensure that all people have the opportunity to lead a healthy and productive life, especially in the developing world. Mr. Gates has stood at the forefront of global efforts and supported governments and international organizations to drive forth the international community’s collective endeavors to eradicate extreme poverty, improve public health and eradicate infectious diseases which disproportionately affect the poor, and ensure access to education. He has become an iconic leader in the promotion of universal initiatives, such as the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the United Nations in 2000 and 2015, respectively.
In his quest for a fairer world, Mr. Gates has worked closely with and steadfastly supported Japan’s initiatives, most notably in the field of global health. His personal involvement was pivotal in promoting the global health agenda at the Hokkaido Toyako G8 summit in 2008. The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, established following Japan’s proposal at the Kyushu, Okinawa G8 Summit of 2000; the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize; and the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT) are but a few examples of his close cooperation with Japan. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation continues to be a major benefactor of numerous international health initiatives, including the current fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
His dedication and contributions to the welfare of humanity are globally recognized. The Japanese government is proud to be able to bestow Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, the highest honor bestowed by the Government of Japan to a non-Japanese citizen, to acknowledge and thank him for his outstanding service to the world.