Yoshitake Yokokura was a toddler when his father, Kokichi, opened a small clinic in Takata, Fukuoka Prefecture, immediately after World War II.
The village with a population of some 10,000 had no doctor until his father, a former military physician, and his wife, Keiko, set up the clinic. Yokokura, now president of the Japan Medical Association, said in an interview that observing his parents tirelessly treat and help patients inspired him to pursue a health care career.
He related his first-hand experience in his inaugural address as president of the World Medical Association in Chicago in October. He spoke of his desire to spread the concept of Japan's health care system and know-how throughout the world and proposed working toward a "society of healthy longevity."