One of Japan's most prominent former leaders, Yasuhiro Nakasone, has turned 100, which seems appropriate for a country known for longevity.
Nakasone was born on May 27, 1918, the son of a lumber merchant.
As a World War II naval officer, he witnessed the depth of Japan's defeat and devastation. He returned to Tokyo in August 1945 after Japan's surrender and later wrote: "I stood vacantly amid the ruins of Tokyo ... as I looked around me, I swore to resurrect my homeland from the ashes of defeat".
He presided over Japan in the 1980s at the pinnacle of its economic success. In recent years, he has lobbied for revision of the war-renouncing, US-drafted constitution, a longtime cause neither he nor his successors have achieved.
His office says Nakasone, who is cared for by his daughter at their Tokyo home, is slowing down but in fine health.
In his written statement marking his birthday on Sunday, Nakasone says he is happy to have worked for Japan's postwar reconstruction and witnessed success.
Australian Associated Press