2019 Spring Conferment of Decorations (UK)

Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham, OM, KBE, PC, FRS

The Government of Japan has decided to confer The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon on Professor Darzi in recognition of his significant contribution to promoting Japan’s efforts in the field of global health and development of medicine in Japan. Professor Darzi has made a significant contribution to promoting and developing Japan-UK relations in the field of medicine, especially patient safety. Firstly, Professor Darzi has played a leading role in the Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety. This is an international conference established in 2016 following international initiatives that aims to highlight the importance of patient safety to countries and international organisations. The third Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety was held in Asia for the first time in Tokyo in April 2018, following Summits in the UK and Germany in the previous two years.

Professor Darzi has been heavily involved in this since the set-up of the inaugural meeting in London, and worked as an advisor for the hosts of the Summit in Bonn and Tokyo, providing advice regarding the event as a whole and the content of the individual programmes within the Summit. He also gave a speech during the opening session of the Tokyo Summit, talking about the history of efforts towards patient safety from an international perspective, and introducing the fact that Japan was the first country in the world to make patient safety a national policy – looking back at the era of the Meiji Restoration and explaining Japan’s various efforts towards safety in industry. Professor Darzi played an invaluable role in the success of this Tokyo Summit, and with Japan expected to take a leading role in efforts towards patient safety by the international community, his work helped contribute to Japan taking on this role and responsibility.

In addition to his presentation at the Tokyo Global Ministerial Summit on Patient Safety, Professor Darzi has also spoken frequently at many other scientific conferences in Japan, such as an annual congress of Japanese Surgical Society. In the field of endoscopic surgery, Professor Darzi has been particularly distinguished, and as a figure with impressive achievements in his scientific work in this field, he is an International Honorary Member of the Japan Society for Endoscopic Surgery. Further, he has also welcomed Japanese university doctors in the surgical field to Imperial College London, playing an important role in nurturing Japanese doctors and researchers, and contributing to the development of Japanese healthcare and medicine.

Reverend Professor Kemmyo Taira Sato

The Government of Japan has decided to confer The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays upon Reverend Professor Kemmyo Taira Sato, the Director of “Three Wheels”- Shin Buddhist Temple in London, in recognition of his significant contribution to promoting reconciliation and cultural exchange between Japan and the UK.

Reverend Professor Kemmyo Taira Sato, the Director of "Three Wheels", has made a significant contribution to promoting reconciliation between Japan and the UK, and global peace since 1997 through organising meetings of reconciliation between Japan UK war veterans who served in WWII with the participation of various key figures, from Buddhist monks of various sects to Anglican Church bishops. Through these meetings, Reverend Sato has been constantly calling for peaceful mind by way of reconciliation and has encouraged many retired veterans from both countries and those who engaged in reconciliation activities.

Reverend Sato's contribution has also gone beyond reconciliation. In 2007, when he was visiting the tombs of four Japanese students at Brookwood Cemetery, who had studied in Europe in the early Meiji period but unfortunately passed away during their studies, Reverend Sato discovered another tomb near to those of the Japanese students. This tomb was that of the late Dr Alexander Williamson, then professor at University College London (UCL), and his wife, Catherine. The British couple had taken care, without reward, of early pioneering Japanese students in the UK, including the four mentioned above, but also many who later became prominent figures in Japanese politics and civil affairs. Reverend Sato made great efforts to let many people know about this British couple who gave invaluable assistance to these early Japanese students. He also made contributions to the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Anglo Japanese Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 2008.

Reverend Sato’s devotion to helping the understanding of Japanese culture and mind is another area of his contribution. At his temple “Three Wheels” established in 1994 in Acton Town, he has been organising monthly services to introduce many UK nationals, as well as Europeans, to the thoughts of Buddhism, including Shin Buddhism. In 2010, Reverend Sato translated into English “Tannisho”, the 13th century Buddhist literature considered to be the most important reference to Shinran, the founder of Shin Buddhism, one of the largest Buddhism sects in Japan today. His diverse and cultural motivation has also enabled Reverend Sato with Professor John White, his lifelong friend, to finally publish the translation of the haiku poems of Matsuo Basho, the 18th century short poet’s work in early 2019.