Mineo Nakajima, president of Akita International University and former president of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, died of pneumonia on Feb. 14 at a hospital in the city of Akita. He was 76.
Nakajima was a scholar in modern Chinese studies and an avid promoter of English-language education at Japanese schools. He served as a member of the Central Council for Education, which advises the education minister, and also took part in an education reform panel during the 2006-2007 government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Nakajima earned a bachelor of arts in China studies at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies in 1960 and a doctor of philosophy in sociology at the University of Tokyo in 1980.
After serving in many posts, including vice president of the Japan Association of National Universities, he became president and chairman of Akita International University in April 2004, where he took the initiative in introducing an autumn start to the school year and English-only lectures.
His 1981 book “Pekin Retsu Retsu” (“Beijing in Flux”) won the Suntory Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities for the category of political sciences and economics.