Toshikazu Wakatsuki, a pioneer in rural health care, died of pneumonia Tuesday at Saku Central Hospital in Saku, Nagano Prefecture, a hospital official said. He was 96.

A native of Tokyo, Wakatsuki graduated in 1945 from the old Tokyo Imperial University and went to work at Saku Hospital, the predecessor of Saku Central Hospital.

He won the Magsaysay Award, a top prize in Asia, for his contribution to medical activities in agricultural communities in 1976. In 1981, he was decorated with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star.

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