Ichiro turns down Japanese government award for third time

FILE - In this March 21, 2019, file photo, then Seattle Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki waves to waiting fans after returning to the field following Game 2 of the Major League Baseball opening series against the Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo. For the third time, baseball star Ichiro turned down a prestigious Japanese government award handed to stars in sports, entertainment and culture. A Japanese government spokesman said Friday, April 5, 2019 that Ichiro had declined the People’s Honor Award. (AP Photo/Toru Takahashi, File)
In this March 22, 2019, photo, then Seattle Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki announces his retirement during a press conference after Game 2 of the Major League Baseball opening series between the Mariners and the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo. For the third time, baseball star Ichiro turned down a prestigious Japanese government award handed to stars in sports, entertainment and culture. A Japanese government spokesman said Friday, April 5, 2019 that Ichiro had declined the People’s Honor Award. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO — For the third time, baseball star Ichiro Suzuki has turned down a prestigious Japanese government award handed to stars in sports, entertainment, and culture.

A Japanese government spokesman said Friday that Ichiro, who retired last month with the Seattle Mariners, had declined the People's Honor Award.

The most recent winner was Olympic skating gold medalist Hanyu Yuzuru, who was named last year following the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

The first winner in 1977 was baseball player Sadaharu Oh. New York Yankees star Hideki Matsui won the award in 2013.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Ichiro indicated, through a third party, that he'd rather receive the award "when he draws the curtain" on his life.

The 45-year-old Ichiro retired with 3,089 hits in the major leagues, and had 1,278 more in his career in Japan. He is sure to be the first Japanese player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Must Read

Blackface in Chinese Lunar New Year sketch draws...

Feb 17, 2018

A comedy sketch that featured a Chinese woman in blackface has drawn accusations of racism after...

China-US tariff spat: Mostly losers, but some...

Apr 5, 2018

China's threat to raise tariffs on U.S. goods could be a disaster for American soybean farmers but...

Panda Beer anyone? Craft beers flow in...

May 19, 2018

Hundreds of craft beer enthusiasts, investors and brewers are attending an exhibition in Shanghai...

China: Smaller trade surplus, OK. But tech...

Jun 4, 2018

China says it will narrow its trade surplus with the United States but rejects pressure to change...

Explore an abandoned Chinese village now engulfed...

Jun 8, 2018

The abandoned Chinese fishing village of Houtouwan presents visitors with a chance to explore a...