Japan plans Honor Award for Ichiro

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) - The government plans to give the People’s Honor Award to Ichiro Suzuki, the longtime Seattle Mariners outfielder who recently announced his retirement, it has been learned.

Suzuki, 45, has been praised for his impressive style of play and historic achievements, including a combined 4,367 career hits in both Japan and the United States, which exceeds Pete Rose’s major league record of 4,256. He also recorded at least 200 hits in 10 consecutive seasons.

According to government sources, the government will make a final decision after confirming Suzuki’s willingness to receive the award. Suzuki was previously approached about receiving the award in 2001 and 2004 but declined because he said he was still an active player.

At a press conference Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said: “We haven’t decided [whether to grant Suzuki the People’s Honor Award], but he is a superstar player who has continued to give hopes and dreams to many children and fans. We are fully aware of the fact that there are such perspectives among people.”