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Hirokazu Nakaima (仲井眞 弘多 Nakaima Hirokazu ?) (born August 19, 1939) is a Japanese bureaucrat, a business leader, and a politician. He was elected governor of Okinawa Prefecture in 2006.


Nakaima was born on August 19, 1939 in Higashinari Ward of Osaka. In 1945 during World War II, his family escaped from the air raids in Osaka and evacuated to Meiji, Minamiamabe District, Oita Prefecture. In 1946 he returned to his parents' hometown of Naha, Okinawa. There he graduated from Kainan Elementary School, Uenoyama Junior High School, and Naha Senior High School. Nakaima excelled in math and science, earning grades that placed him at the top of his class.

Pursuing a dream of becoming an automobile designer, Nakaima sat for an exam to apply for the Government-funded/Self-funded Okinawa Student Program, a system established between the United States Military Government in Okinawa and the Japanese Government to allow students from Okinawa to attend university in mainland Japan. Nakaima passed the exam and matriculated at the University of Tokyo, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1961.

Directly after graduating in 1961, Nakaima joined the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). In the 1980s, Nakaima served as the Director General of the Commerce and Industry Department at the Okinawa General Bureau and later as the Deputy Director-General for Technology Affairs at MITI's Agency of Industrial Science and Technology.

In 1987, Nakaima took a Senior General Manager position with the Okinawa Electric Power Company. In 1990, he left the company to become a Vice Governor in the administration of Okinawa Governor Masahide Ota. Nakaima returned to the Okinawa Electric Power Company in 1995, serving as the company's President and later Chairman of the Board of Directors.

In 2006 the Liberal Democratic Party and the Fair and Clean Government Party gave him backing for his run in the Okinawa gubernatorial election on November 19. In the election, Nakaima defeated Itokazu Keiko, who received the recommendation of five opposition parties. Nakaima assumed the office of Governor on December 10, 2006.

Hirokazu Nakaima is one of the largest advocates to expel 8,000 U.S. Marines and their families off the island of Okinawa. He has consistently blasted the U.S. Government as well as its officials for frivolous wrong doing.

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Preceded by
Inamine Keiichi
Governor of Okinawa
December 2006–present


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