Japan confers prestigious award on PJCA’s vice president for strengthening bilateral ties

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Zubair Qureshi

The Government of Japan has conferred the 2020 Spring Decorations “The Order of the Rising Sun, Silver Rays” upon Vice President of the Pakistan-Japan Cultural Association (PJCA), Islamabad, Orita Toshiko in recognition of her significant contribution to the promotion of long-term cultural exchanges and friendly relations between the two countries.
Ambassador of Japan Matsuda Kuninori on behalf of his government conferred the decoration “The Order of the Rising Sun, Silver Rays” upon Ms Orita on Wednesday.
The conferment ceremony took place at the ambassador’s official residence with limited participants due to COVID-19’s situation in the country. Those who were in attendance included Ms Orita’s family members, her close friends, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Federal Minister on Finance & Revenue, and Mrs. Nadene Shaikh. The ceremony was held with all the prevention measures against Covid-19 in place.
Orita Toshiko is also a laureate of the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation and has been serving as Vice President of the PJCA since 2003.
She also worked in the Embassy of Japan in Pakistan as a senior staff in the past. As a fluent speaker of Urdu language well-versed with Pakistani culture, Orita has worked diligently over the years both independently and from the platform of PJCA to promote Japanese culture.
After her arrival in Pakistan in the 1960’s, she hosted numerous lectures and exhibitions of Ikebana and fabric flowers, becoming the pioneer of the Japanese art in Pakistan.
Through her teaching, many Pakistanis acquired the art and became Ikebana artists themselves. In addition to cultural activities, she provided support for the socially vulnerable in Pakistan through PCLAPA, Pakistan Cleft Lips and Palate Association. She devoted herself to care for the victims of the earthquake in 2005 and contributed to various projects in Gujrat in the field of health and medical care.

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