Order of the Outrage; THE EMPEROR OF JAPAN WILL RECEIVE BRITAIN'S HIGHEST CHIVALRY AWARDWar Veterans Lead Protest at the Queen's Honour for Akihito
Byline: DAN TOWNEND;BRIONY WARDEN
THE Queen is to invest Emperor Akihito of Japan with the Order of the Garter - Britain's highest mark of chivalry - in a move which last night enraged war veterans.
The honour, rarely given to non-European heads of state, will be made when the emperor visits Britain next month.
It was agreed after informal discussions
between Buckingham Palace, Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.
Last night old soldiers, including many who suffered at the hands of the Japanese in PoW camps, were disgusted.
'My first reaction is a scream of despair,' said 76-year-old Arthur Tithering-ton, chairman of the Japanese Labour Camp Survivors Association.
'It is a kick in the teeth for every ex-Serviceman who was a prisoner in the Far East.' Mr Titherington, a prisoner in Taiwan for three-and-a-half years during the Second World War, represents 9,500 ex-Servicemen.
He added: 'The Queen is entitled to do with her hon-ours as she wishes.
But knowing, as the world must know, the role the Japanese played in the war, for which we have still received no proper apology, I cannot help but think that she was wrongly advised by the Government.' Lib-Dem MP Mark Oaten, chairman of the all-party Parliamentary Prisoners of War and Internees Group, said: 'We are pleased to see further strengthening of the relationship between Britain and Japan.
'But we hope it will be matched by a proper apology from the Japanese for the atrocities inflicted on British PoWs and internees in the Far East.' The Royal British Legion said: 'It is not the kind of
suspicions in Westminster that the award was tied in with Mr Blair's recent visit to Japan, where he drummed up investment for the Millennium Dome. …