The former Japanese Ambassador to Italy, Keiichi Katakami, and the Japanese artist Shu Takahashi received from the Italian Ambassador to Tokyo, Giorgio Starace, the honours conferred on them by the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella.
Keiichi Katakami was awarded the high honour of Cavaliere di Gran Croce dell'Ordine al Merito della Repubblica (1st Class / Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic) (OMRI) for his extraordinary commitment to the consolidation of the bonds of friendship between Italy and Japan and the strengthening of bilateral political, economic, and cultural relations. Maestro Shu Takahashi was awarded the honour of Commendatore dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia (Commander of the Order of the Star of Italy) (OSI) in recognition of a career spanning decades dedicated to art and to strengthen cultural ties between Japan and Italy, the country where Takahashi has long-lived, and which has been at the centre of his artistic production.
Ambassador Starace, at the end of the ceremony, said: "I was delighted to have had the opportunity - just a few days before the end of my mandate in Japan - to deliver the two high honours to Ambassador Katakami and Maestro Takahashi, being tied by a long and sincere friendship. They are two high-profile personalities who, although in different fields, have greatly contributed to the growth of relations between our two countries".