On April 28, 2017, President Yasuo Niiyama of the Tokyo Japan Temple passed away. He was 73. Along with his wife, Tomiko Hatakeyama Moulton Niiyam, he had served since November 2015. No cause of death has been released.
President Niiyama was an Area Seventy, mission president over the Japan Sendai Mission from 1987-1990, stake president, high councilor, and branch president. Prior to his call as temple president he served as a member of the Church Area Government Relations Council.
A statement by the Asia North Area presidency, comprising Elder Scott D. Whiting, Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita, and Elder Yoon Hwan Choi, said, “We express our deepest sympathies and condolences at the passing of our esteemed brother in the work of the Lord, President Yasuo Niiyama.”
LDS Living shared a snippet from a 2004 article that President Niiyama wrote for the Ensign:
Some years ago I had a dream that changed my life. It also changed the way I treat my wife and children. In the dream, I was driving a car on a dark night. It was a two-lane road in a rather quiet countryside. I saw a car coming from the opposite direction at high speed; suddenly it swerved into my lane. I did my best to avoid the car, but the other driver increased his speed. I knew we were going to crash and found myself praying hard: “Heavenly Father, please help me. I cannot die yet. I have a sweet wife and [at that time] three lovely children. Please, please …” I felt the impact and was thrown out of the car.
When I hit the ground, I immediately woke up and found it was just a dream. “Oh, what a relief!” I thought. Then I asked myself, “Have I been a good husband and father? Can I say I have been the best husband I could be? What would I leave my children if I died?”
I could not go back to sleep that night. I recommitted myself to the Lord and decided to love my wife and children more. So that my family would have my testimony recorded, I wrote down 42 statements expressing my belief in doctrines and principles of the gospel, the things I would most want to leave my children if I were to die. . . .
May we stop and think, pondering and reflecting on how we are doing in our own families. May peace come to each family member as husbands and fathers preside over their families in love—that same peace promised by the Savior: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
On a related note, the Toyko Japan Temple is scheduled to close this October for a nearly three-year renovation. How President Niiyama’s passing will affect that process, if at all, is unclear.
President Niiyama is survived by his wife and seven children.