Japan to honor wheelchair tennis star Kunieda with People's Honor Award

The Japanese government has decided to bestow the People's Honor Award to wheelchair tennis star Kunieda Shingo, who retired in January.

The decision was revealed at a Cabinet meeting on Friday. The government had been hearing opinions from experts and taking other steps after Prime Minister Kishida Fumio instructed relevant officials last month to consider honoring Kunieda with the award.

Kunieda achieved a career Golden Slam by winning all four major grand slam tournaments as well as the Paralympics.

The award ceremony will take place on March 17 at the prime minister's official residence.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu said Kunieda has achieved an unprecedented feat and made significant contributions to the spread of para sports and the development of sports as a whole.

He praised Kunieda for inspiring many Japanese to pursue their dreams and bringing hope and courage to society.

Matsuno went on to say that he hopes the conferring of the award to Kunieda will encourage other para athletes and people with disabilities and help promote social diversity.

Kunieda will be the 27th individual and the first para athlete to receive the People's Honor Award.