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1974: Eisaku Sato

Eisaku Sato was born in Yamaguchi prefecture in 1901. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in German jurisprudence at Tokyo Imperial University, he joined the Ministry of Railways (now the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism). He carved out an impressive career as a civil servant, and in 1948 joined the second Yoshida Cabinet albeit as a non-parliamentary member. In 1949, he was elected to the House of Representatives. In 1964, he became Prime Minister, and served three terms until 1972. In 1965, while Prime Minister, he made the first official visit since the end of the Pacific War to Okinawa, which at the time was occupied by the United States. Sato began campaigning to see the Okinawan islands returned to Japanese administration. In 1967, during the parliamentary debate about the presence of nuclear weapons on the US military base in Okinawa, Sato proposed his three non-nuclear principles: non-production, non-possession and non-introduction. He went on to negotiate the return of Okinawa to Japan with the United States, and the islands were formally returned in 1972. In 1974, Sato received the Nobel Peace Prize for his proposal of the three non-nuclear principles and for his contributions to peace in Asia. He left politics after his final term as Prime Minister, and died in 1975.