By Roy Mabasa
The Japanese government has officially conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays to Maria Elena Laurel Loinaz in recognition of her contribution to promoting mutual understanding between Japan and the Philippines.
Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda led the awarding of the Imperial decoration to Laurel-Loinaz on behalf of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan during a simple ceremony at the Ambassador’s residence in Makati City, Friday night.
A scion of a political family from Batangas, Laurel-Loinaz served as President of the Philippines-Japan Ladies Association for 13 years.
Under her stewardship, the association undertook various educational and socio-cultural programs, encouraging intensified exchanges between Japanese and Filipinos.
Laurel-Loinaz’ selection for the award was first announced by the Japanese government last May.
According to a previous statement from the Japanese Embassy in Manila, Loinaz was bestowed with the honor for making the activities of the PJLA more open, while invigorating and expanding the participation of other members and non-members.