Japan honors Hank Aaron with Order of the Rising Sun

Hank Aaron looks on as Takashi Shinozuka, Consul General of Japan in Atlanta, adjusts the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, after it was presented to him during a ceremony at the official residence of the Consul General of Japan, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in Atlanta. Japan honored the former home run king with one of its highest awards, Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his contributions to youth exchanges and friendly relations through baseball. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
AP

ATLANTA (AP) Japan has honored former home run king Hank Aaron with one of its highest awards, bestowing the Order of the Rising Sun for bringing young people and countries together through baseball.

The medal was presented Thursday during a ceremony at the home of Japan's consul general in Atlanta.

The 81-year-old Aaron reflected on his long friendship with Japan's home run leader, Sadaharu Oh, saying they both thought it was important to expose the game to more youngsters from around the world. Most notably, they have worked on the World Children's Baseball Fair.

Oh was unable to travel to Atlanta but sent videotaped remarks. Aaron sat through most of the ceremony, next to his wife, Billye. He now must use a cane to get around after undergoing hip replacement surgery.