Japan to confer Order of Rising Sun on Taiwanese academic

Lin Bih-jaw (right), with President Tsai Ing-wen (center) and then-Democratic Progressive Party Secretary General Joseph Wu, is seen in this CNA file photo taken in April 2016.

TAIPEI (CNA) — Lin Bih-jaw (林碧炤), a former Taiwan university vice president and government official, has been named as a recipient of Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun for his contribution to academic exchanges between the two countries over many years, the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association (TJRA) said Thursday.

Lin, who served as Presidential Office Secretary-General from May to October 2016, will receive the Gold and Silver Star award, the second highest honor in Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun, the TJRA said.

The announcement was made last week by the Japanese government, which cited Lin’s achievements in advancing academic exchanges between Taiwan and Japan, according to TJRA Secretary-General Kuo Chung-shi (郭仲熙).

“The former National Chengchi University vice president was among the Gold and Silver Star awardees announced by the Japanese government on April 29,” Ko said at a press briefing at Taiwan’s foreign ministry.

The Gold and Silver Star honor, awarded twice a year, is conferred on persons who have made distinguished achievements in international relations, the promotion of Japanese culture, and other fields.

According to Japanese media, the award ceremony was scheduled for May at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo but has been postponed to a later date due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Lin, an academic who specializes in East Asia and security issues, also served as deputy secretary-general of the National Security Council in the 1990s and as chairman of the Taiwan Society of Japanese Studies from 2010-2014.

Other Taiwanese who have received the Gold and Silver Star award include business tycoons Jeffery Koo (辜濂松) and Chang Yung-fa (張榮發), and former government officials Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), Lo Fu-chen (羅福全), Koh Se-kai (許世楷) and Liao Liou-yi (廖了以).

The TJRA is a quasi-governmental organization that represents Taiwan’s interests in Japan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.