Born: 27 March 1901, Tabuse, Japan
Died: 3 June 1975, Tokyo, Japan
Residence at the time of the award: Japan
Role: Prime Minister of Japan
Field: arms control and disarmament, human rights
Prize share: 1/2
The reasons the Nobel Committee gave for awarding the Peace Prize to Eisaku Sato were that as Japanese Prime Minister he represented the will for peace of the Japanese people, and that he had signed the nuclear arms Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970. In the Committee's opinion, the award to Sato would encourage all those who were working to halt the spread of nuclear arms.
The Peace Prize to Sato was heatedly discussed, especially in Japan. He was a controversial politician. The Japanese left accused him of being an obedient servant of American interests.
Sato was born into an old samurai family. He was trained as a lawyer, and before and after World War II he was employed in the Japanese railway service. After the war he pursued a political career despite charges of corruption. In 1964 he was in charge of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, and he became Prime Minister the same year. Sato supported the US war in Vietnam, while at the same time urging the United States to return the island of Okinawa to Japan. This happened in 1972, but the United States retained control of the military bases.