On 7 July, Japan��s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Mrs Kazuko Okubo-Sizer was to be awarded the Foreign Minister��s Commendation in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the promotion of friendly relations between Japan and the UK. In particular, the award recognises her valuable role in fostering friendship at the grass-roots level through the activities of the Japan Society of Peterborough, which she has chaired for more than 25 years.
After settling in Peterborough in 1973, Kazuko Okubo-Sizer made efforts to promote Japanese culture and language to British people through visits to primary and secondary schools, women��s associations and community facilities for the handicapped.
Her efforts gained momentum and in 1979, in co-operation with other Japanese residents and British people with an interest in Japan in the area, she set up the Peterborough Japan Society, which became the Japan Society of Peterborough in 1983.
In the late 1990s, as the Society��s membership and range of activities continued to grow, the Peterborough City Council also acknowledged the Society��s contribution to promoting international friendship in the local community by starting to co-host its yearly Japan Day and Annual General Meeting.