On November 3, 2011, the Government of Japan announced that Mr. Francis Castillo Laurel, President of the Philippines-Japan Society, Inc., was conferred a decoration of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon.
Mr. Laurel has been recognized for his firm and continuous contribution in promoting bilateral relations between Philippines and Japan. After working in building business relationship between the two countries he served as Vice-President of the Philippines-Japan Society for eight years and consequently President of the Society for nine years since 1994.
The Philippines-Japan Society is the pivot for Philippines-Japan related organizations, such as the Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee (PHILJEC), the Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation, the Philippines-Japan Ladies Association, the Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA). The Society also operates the Philippine Institute of Japanese Language (PIJLC) and the Nihongo Center Foundation.
The Philippines-Japan Society is the focal point for developing and maintaining close Philippines-Japan relations and at its annual event, the Philippines-Japan Friendship Celebration, the Society awards the prominent contributors to our bilateral relations. Among the recipients of the Medal of Merits are former Chairman of Toyota Motors Corporation Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda, former Prime Minister Cesar Virata, former Foreign Minister Domingo L. Siazon, Jr. and former Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco.
Mr. Laurel also played a significant role as Chairman of the Philippine side of the Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee (PHILJEC) from 2005-2008. He is also the President of YKK Philippines and is currently the President and CEO of Toyota Batangas. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation.