16 Oct 2020

Palau mourns former president Kuniwo Nakamura

6:38 pm on 16 October 2020

The former president of Palau, Kuniwo Nakamura, has died at the age of 76.

Sixteen leaders of South Pacific nations attended the two-day meeting in Miyazaki, southern Japan.

President of Palau Kuniwo Nakamura (L) and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori (R) toast during a reception on the eve of the second Japan-South Pacific Forum Summit meeting in Tokyo 21 April 2000. Photo: AFP PHOTO/Toru YAMANAKA

Kuniwo Nakamura's father was a Japanese immigrant and his mother a Palau chieftain's daughter.

He was in primary school when World War II ended and graduated high school in Palau under US occupation, going on to study at the University of Hawaii.

At the age of 28 Kuniwo Nakamura became the youngest person to be elected to the Congress of Micronesia.

Mr Nakamura was president of Palau from 1993 until 2001, after serving a term as vice-president.

The current president, Tommy Remengesau Jr, credited him for leading Palau to its indpendence from the United States in 1994.

In 1997 Kuniwo Nakamura was awarded the World Peace Prize for his leadership in Palau.

Mr Remengesau said Mr Nakamura helped the nation overcome what seemed like insurmountable challenges.