OITA – Former Oita Gov. Morihiko Hiramatsu, known for his “one village, one product” regional development campaign, died Sunday, sources said Tuesday. He was 92.
Hiramatsu was governor of Oita Prefecture for 24 years until 2003. His “one village, one product” movement was initiated for Oita but later introduced to many developing countries.
He won the 1995 Ramon Magsaysay Award, known as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize, in the category of government service for his efforts to achieve self-reliant economic growth for Oita through the one-product movement and his spirited call for local products with global appeal.
He was a staunch advocate of greater regional autonomy, backing a proposal to reorganize Japan into several new states that would each be a combination of neighboring prefectures.
Hiramatsu promoted Oita’s shochu distilled spirits, which later sparked a shochu boom. He also successfully campaigned to make Oita a venue for the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals.
He received the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun in 2004.