The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, is one of the highest distinctions bestowed in Japan. It was established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji to recognize civil or military service of exceptional merit. Few non-Japanese nationals have received this honour.
For almost 30 years, Jean-Yves Le Gall has maintained a close relationship with Japan, both professionally, as part of the various posts he has held, and personally, developing a real appreciation for the quality and diversity of Japanese culture. He first visited Japan in 1986, shortly after joining the French Directorate General for Industry, where he was in charge of relations with the space industry.
In 1996, then Deputy Managing Director of CNES, he was investigator for the first cooperation agreement between CNES and NASDA, the forerunner of JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. In subsequent posts, he went on to establish close partnership relations with Japan, particularly in launch vehicles. As a result, a large proportion of Japanese commercial satellites are orbited by Ariane launchers today. Since his appointment as President of CNES, he has fostered closer dialogue with JAXA, helping to further strengthen the collaborative ties between France and Japan.
Jean-Yves Le Gall co-chaired the EU-Japan Business Round Table (EJBRT) for four years with Hiromasa Yonekura, Chairman of Keidanren. In this capacity, he played a major role in the development of trade and industrial cooperation between Europe and Japan. From 2012, he has also chaired the France-Japan business council of Medef International, the international arm of the French business confederation.
On leaving the Imperial Palace, Jean-Yves Le Gall stated: “I am hugely honoured and moved to receive such a high distinction from the Prime Minister of Japan and to have met His Majesty Emperor Akihito. I see this great honour as recognition of the excellent relations between France and Japan in space, which we have developed with a remarkable degree of success over the last 30 years.”
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