Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Japan is bestowing national decorations on Sen. Lamar Alexander and a Vanderbilt University professor.
The consulate general's office announced Tuesday that Emperor Akihito is conferring the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star to Alexander for furthering U.S. economic relations with Japan.
While Alexander was Tennessee governor and economic competition between the two countries was tense in the early 1980s, he led numerous trade missions to Japan.
The recruitment resulted in Nissan building the first Japanese auto assembly plant in the U.S. at Smyrna. Bridgestone and Komatsu followed. More than 170 Japanese companies now have Tennessee operations accounting for 35,000 jobs.
Professor John Haley is receiving the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon for furthering the study of Japanese law in the U.S.