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Governor turns over new leaf after stroke

Date Posted: 2007-07-27

Okinawa governor Hirokazu Nakaima says he’s in much better condition now than before his June stroke.

He's quit smoking, quit drinking, given up heavy foods and begun exercising. “I’m spending like a hermit, no more staying up late, no more bad things,” he says smiling. “I’m enjoying this kind of life. It’s not bad at all. Nakaima began changing himself after becoming governor, but found his June 22nd cerebral infarction an eye opener.

After only a week in the hospital, Nakaima was clamoring to get back to his desk. “I do work hard. I like to work,” he says. He’s begrudgingly accepting doctor orders to not “work too hard”, heeding their cautions “It’s important to rest sometimes.” His staff is trying to slow him down, making him take Wednesdays off to stay home and relax. Tuesdays and Thursdays he only works a half day.

Nakaima says “everybody notices as they get older our bodies break down, like a car. We need to take care of our bodies,” and says people are surprised at how he could stop his heavy smoking and drinking, and even changing his diet. The governor has lofty goals for Okinawa, calling it his “Okinawan 21st Century Vision.” He’s pushing meetings to discuss the prefecture’s future.

The governor wants to create more opportunities for tourism, which leads to more jobs for Okinawans. “Actually, I would like to have meetings on the subject every day”, he says.

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