SINGAPORE - President Tony Tan Keng Yam conferred one of Singapore's highest honours on a leading Japanese businessman on Tuesday.
Mr Kyohei Takahashi, representative director and chairman of tech giant Showa Denko KK, was awarded the Public Service Star (Distinguished Friends of Singapore).
He was unable to attend the March ceremony, when GlaxoSmithKline chief executive Andrew Witty was also given the same honour. The award recognises international business leaders who have made a significant contribution to Singapore.
During Mr Takahashi's tenure as president and chief executive from 2005 to 2010, Showa Denko doubled its manufacturing capacity for hard-disk media here.
It also expanded research and development operations and invested about $1 billion here.
The firm's investments helped Singapore's data storage industry to grow and move from hard-disk drive assembly to manufacturing hard-disk media, which has a higher level of added value.
This in turn created skilled jobs and careers for Singaporeans.
Singapore now manufactures close to half of the world's hard-disk media, which is used for memory storage in computers.
Mr Takahashi, who is based in Japan, said at Tuesday's personal visit to the Istana: "The successful partnership between Showa Denko and Economic Development Board has underpinned the significant growth we have seen in Showa Denko's business activities in Singapore, where we currently have over 1,300 employees."
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.