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Tetsu Nakamura: Japanese physician and honorary Afghan citizen, who headed Peace Japan Medical Services

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 12 March 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m1046
  1. Khyber Nazimi, core medical trainee,
  2. Akimichi Inaba, clinical lecturer in nephrology
  1. Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, UK
  1. ai275{at}

Tetsu Nakamura, a Japanese physician, was killed along with five others during an ambush on the outskirts of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on 4 December 2019. He was 73. For 30 years, Nakamura worked not only within the traditional role of doctor but more broadly in humanitarian projects to improve the health of the people and the political stability of Afghanistan. For his work, he received the 2003 Ramon Magsaysay award—often referred to as Asia’s Nobel prize—and in 2019 he was given honorary Afghan citizenship.

Nakamura was raised in Fukuoka prefecture on the southernmost island of Kyūshū. He graduated from Kyūshū University School of Medicine in 1973. As a young doctor he left Japan in 1984 to volunteer with Japan Overseas Christian Medical Cooperative Service in Peshawar, Pakistan. There he headed the leprosy unit, but by 1986 was treating the influx of …

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