Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation and Board Member of the Scandinavian Japan Sasakawa Foundation, was bestowed the Insignia, Commander of the Order of the White Rose of Finland for his long lasting and invaluable work in furthering Finnish-Japanese cooperation, especially in the fields of culture, science, technology and the arts.
An awarding ceremony took place at the Embassy of Finland on February 15, where Ambassador Jari Gustafsson presented the decoration to Mr. Sasakawa on behalf of the President of Finland Tarja Halonen.
The Scandinavian-Japan Sasakawa Foundation, established in 1984, has been giving grants in Finland totaling over 10 million yen annually, which led to numerous successful projects. Exchange programmes between schools and educators, film industries, media and architects have also been fruitful. The Foundation is known for its support of Japanese language studies in Finland and other Nordic countries, an important factor when promoting cross-cultural understandings.
Mr. Sasakawa is noted not only for his precious activities in Scandinavia, but also in Africa and other parts of the world. Ambassador Gustafsson touched upon this, saying that “this decoration today is Finland’s modest token of appreciation for your tireless contribution to make the world a better place to live.” Mr. Sasakawa responded in his speech that he has been moved by Finland’s contributions in the international community by such figures as the former President of Finland and Nobel Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari.
The awarding ceremony was followed by a luncheon at the Embassy, which proceeded in a friendly atmosphere.