Japanese aid worker Tetsu Nakamura’s remains on Saturday were repatriated to Japan following a ceremony attended by President Ashraf Ghani.
The ceremony was attended by Nakamura’s wife, daughter and colleagues, who will accompany his remains to Japan.
Nakamura died in an attack by unknown armed men in Nangarhar province in the east of Afghanistan on December 4. His death has shocked and saddened Afghans nationwide, with vigils held in Nangarhar, Kabul, Parwan, Khost and Bamiyan.
Addressing the ceremony, Ghani extended his condolences to the family of Nakamura, and said the Japanese aid worker was a “hero.”
Ghani, who helped carry Nakamura’s casket at the airport, said “all completed and incomplete projects” on which Nakamura worked will be named after him.
“Dr. Nakamura was a great man who dedicated his whole life for improving the lives of the most vulnerable people in Afghanistan,” Ghani said.
Nakamura, 73, came to Afghanistan in the 1980s to treat leprosy. But he changed many more lives with the canal-building techniques he brought from Japan.
He established canals from the Kunar River and also dug over 1500 wells that now provide clean water to over 650,000 people in Nangarhar.
The Japanese aid worker helped to build a main canal about 25.5 km long from the Kunar River to the Gamberi area.
He was currently working on the second phase of this canal with a budget of more than $15 million.
After facing difficulties in procuring equipment to dig the first canals, he drew inspiration from techniques used more than 200 years ago in his hometown in Japan.
Along with irrigation projects, Nakamura established two hospitals, as well as two mosques.