100-year-old Japanese doctor named special 'green ambassador'
Shigeaki HinoharaShigeaki Hinohara, the director of St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo, has been appointed a special "green ambassador" by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry.
Hinohara, a 100-year-old physician, was chosen because he is known for conceiving a musical based on a best-selling American picture book titled "The Fall of Freddie the Leaf."
"As an old tree, I'd like to convey my thoughts to 'leaves,' who bear the future Japan on their shoulders," Hinohara said. He teaches the value of life to children at schools throughout the country.
The book, which was written by an American educator, explains the cycle of life and death by describing a leaf that changes through the seasons and then returns to the soil. Hinohara was impressed by the book and decided to write a musical based on it. The play has been seen by about 130,000 people in Japan since it debuted in 2000.
Hinohara was among passengers taken hostage in 1970 by Red Army faction members who hijacked the Yodo, a Japan Airlines jetliner. The passengers and plane returned to Japan shortly after the plane traveled to Pyongyang.
As the head of St. Luke's, Hinohara oversaw the medical treatment of victims of the sarin nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system in 1995.
"I'd like to devote the rest of my life to protecting forests," Hinohara said.