Press received “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays” from Consul General Akira Chiba at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.
“It is a ranked decoration and highly prestigious,” said Jennifer Usyak, the Japanese consulate’s adviser for political and community relations. “We look very carefully at the background of anyone under consideration.”
She explained the award recognizes people who promote friendship and good relations between the United States and Japan and who enhance Japanese culture in the United States.
Press’ contributions date back to 1959 when she was living in San Bernardino and co-founded the San Bernardino-Tachikawa Sister City program.
She was appointed as a California representative to Sister Cities International in 1972 and served as president of the San Diego-Yokohama Sister City Society from 2013-2015.
A Los Angeles woman also received the 2017 Imperial decoration in an earlier ceremony at the consul general’s home.
The emperor’s award requires the approval of his Cabinet. “It is equivalent to the Congressional Gold Medal in the United States or a knighthood in the UK,” Usyak said.
DIANE BELL• U-T Original article Below