Order of Rising Sun, Gold, Silver Star Conferment Ceremony for Alounkeo Kittikhoun, Former Minister to Lao PM Office

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The Order of the Rising Sun Conferment Ceremony for Mr. Alounkeo Kittikhoun

Alounkeo Kittikhoun, Former Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office of Laos has been presented with one of Japan’s highest civilian honors, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star.

This high honor conferred by the Government of Japan was officially presented by Kobayashi Kenichi, Ambassador of Japan to Laos at the award presentation ceremony, which was held on 22 December at the Residence of the Ambassador of Japan in Vientiane Capital.

The reception was attended by dignitaries including Phout Simmalavong, Minister of Education and Sports, President of Lao-Japan Friendship Association; other Lao high-ranking officials; the family, and friends of Alounkeo. Representatives from the Japanese community in Laos were also in attendance.

Alounkeo Kittikhoun shakes hand with Kobayashi Kenichi

At the ceremony, Ambassador Kobayashi congratulated Alounkeo and expressed gratitude for his contributions to strengthening bilateral relations and promoting friendship between Laos and Japan.

Alounkeo’s extensive career includes long service representing Laos at the United Nations before serving as an assistant to then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Thongloun Sisoulith from 2007 to 2011.

Serving under Thongloun’s leadership, Alounkeo worked hard to coordinate relevant domestic departments to realize many symbolic cooperative frameworks, including the visa exemption for Japanese nationals and the Japan-Laos investment agreement.

These efforts have borne fruit in the form of an increase in the number of arrivals of both Japanese tourists visiting Laos and in the number of Japanese companies operating in the country, resulting in significant development of human exchange and economic relations between the two countries.

From 2011 to 2016, as Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of bilateral relations between Japan and Laos, he strongly supported more than 20 active and productive visits by dignitaries from both countries.

When Laos held the ASEAN chairmanship in 2016, as the leader of the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting (SOM), he contributed to the strengthening of bilateral relations and Japan-ASEAN cooperation through his diplomatic skills and deep understanding of Japan to compile the drafts of the ASEAN-related Leaders’ Statement.

Additionally, he served as Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office from 2016 to 2020.

During five visits to Japan, including then Prime Minister Thongloun’s first visit in 2016, Alounkeo assisted the Prime Minister in coordination and collaboration within the Lao government, bringing each visit to a successful conclusion.

During Foreign Minister Kishida’s visit to Laos in that same year, Alounkeo coordinated the meeting between Kishida and the Lao government officials, contributing to making the visit more productive and thereby making a significant contribution to strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.