The Japanese government has chosen Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron as one of 150 people who have made the greatest achievements in promoting mutual understanding between Japan and the U.S., the Japanese Consulate General in Atlanta announced last week.

Yoriko Kawaguchi, Japan’s minister for foreign affairs, established the award to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan relationship marking the signing in 1854 of the Treaty of Kanagawa, also known as the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Peace and Amity.

Japan’s ambassador to the U.S., Ryozo Kato, is to throw a ceremonial pitch to start the Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets baseball game at Turner Field on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 1, and present Mr. Aaron with the Certification of Commendation Award at a private ceremony in the evening.

He also is to speak in the Loudermilk Conference Center downtown at an Atlanta Rotary Club luncheon on Monday, Aug. 2.

According to the statement, “Mr. Hank Aaron taught the Japanese people the wonder of baseball…”

It also describes the “friendly homerun competition between America’s homerun king and Japan’s homerun king, Mr. Sadaharu Oh.

“This competition developed into a fast friendship and together they established the World Children’s Baseball Fair, which fosters an environment of world understanding and cultural exchange through baseball.”

Call Linda Glass, executive director of the Atlanta Rotary Club, at (404) 522-2767 if you are interested in attending the Aug. 2 luncheon, which costs $15.