The Kingdom of Belgium has made the president of Kuraray Co., Ltd. (“Kuraray”) Masaaki Ito a Commander of the Order of the Crown (Commandeur de l'ordre de la Couronne). The order was bestowed in a ceremony held on May 12 at the Belgian embassy in Japan and presided over by the Prime Minister of Belgium, Charles Michel. Commander of the Order of the Crown is the highest decoration given to a civilian foreign national.

In 1999 Kuraray began production of ethylene vinyl alcohol polymer resin (EVOH resin; Kuraray trademark: EVAL) in Europe through the wholly owned subsidiary EVAL Europe N.V. (“EVAL Europe”), which is headquartered in Antwerp. A functional resin with high gas impermeability, EVAL is used in food packaging materials, gas tanks and other products.

Responding to expanding global demand, in February 2015 EVAL Europe announced plans to boost its EVAL production capacity by 11,000 tons per year by the end of 2016. This increase will bring its total annual capacity to 35,000 tons, more than triple the company’s original 1999-level capacity.

The award was made in honor of the boost in employment Kuraray’s many years of operation and investment has brought to the Kingdom of Belgium.

Prime Minister Charles Michel (right) shakes hands with Kuraray President Masaaki Ito.