March 18, 2013
The Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA, the Government of Japan, the University of Ghana, Legon, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and others have paid a final tribute to Prof. Kenji Honda whose mortal remains was buried at the NMIMR on Thursday, 7th March 2013 in a colorful traditional ceremony.
Prof. Kenji Honda was instrumental in the establishment of the NMIMR in 1979 together with Prof.Easmon and other collaborative efforts between the Governments of Japan and Ghana.
Prof. Honda was born in Kakuta City, Miyagi Prefecture, on July 6, 1918. He graduated from the Tohoku University School of Medicine in 1941. Upon graduation, he joined the First Department of Surgery of the Tohoku University School of Medicine, and after undergoing training in thoracic cardiovascular surgery and gastroenterological surgery, he was promoted to the rank of assistant professor in the university's First Department of Surgery in 1949. In 1959, he was appointed as a professor in the First Department of Surgery of Fukushima Medical University, he worked there for 24 years until retirement. From 1984, as the head of Japan Medical Team for Disaster Relief Committee, he led missions in countries such as Ethiopia, Mexico, and Colombia that had been struck by natural disasters such as severe drought, major earthquake and volcanic eruptions. In Ghana, he is acclaimed for initiating the establishment of the Noguchi Institute.
In a speech delivered at the final rites, Prof. Eiji Ido, Representing Japanese Visiting Scientists at the NMIMR, said; ‘I am one of the JICA experts dispatched to NMIMR from the University of Tokyo in 1984 and maybe today, I am one of the very few Japanese who remember Prof. Honda's face, big body and his universal gigantic mind. It is a great honor to be part of this historical moment.'
Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana praised the late professor for his tenacity and for initiating the collaboration which yielded the establishment of the NMIMR, one of the most resourced medical research institutes in West Africa.
In her remarks read by her daughter Mrs.Toshiko Ina, Madam Michiko Honda, wife of the deceased relished the memory of Prof. Honda and his passion for the Institute, ‘Ten years ago, Kenji wished to see the research institute again while he still had the energy. We came here with our daughter and he was elated to see the Institute had grown and that many great researches were being conducted. He made a request for part of his remains to be interred at the Institute. We are happy one of his final wishes has come true today.'
JICA believes the Late Prof. Kenji Honda was an exemplary figure that signifies and inspires the promotion of peace, scientific research and successful partnerships.
Prof. Kenji Honda's mortal remains was buried at the NMIMR as he requested. May his soul rest in perfect peace.