A retired Japanese nuclear engineer who died of cancer in late December had been promoting a project to create a village for artists on a Philippine island known for witchcraft and mystery.

Many young people on Siquijor are unemployed due to the island's dependence on tourism. Koji Kuwabara, who died a day after his 68th birthday, had launched the art village project as a way to teach local young people how to draw, and then help them sell their paintings.

Kuwabara joined Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. after graduating from Nagoya University, where he studied electrical engineering. He had been involved in research and development programs related to nuclear power generation throughout his career.