Ex-Japan Socialist Party Head Masashi Ishibashi Dies at 95

Society Politics

Tokyo, Dec. 13 (Jiji Press)--Former Japan Socialist Party Chairman Masashi Ishibashi, who worked to lead the party to a realistic path, died in the city of Fukuoka, southwestern Japan, this month. He was 95.

After the end of World War II, Ishibashi, who was born in Taiwan, worked for the Allied occupation forces in the city of Sasebo in the southwestern Japan prefecture of Nagasaki.

After serving as secretary-general of the All Japan Garrison Forces Labor Union's Sasebo branch and a Nagasaki prefectural assembly member, Ishibashi was first elected to the Diet, Japan's parliament, in 1955 as a House of Representatives lawmaker from a constituency in Nagasaki. He was elected to the Lower House for 12 consecutive times.

Over the revision of the Japan-U.S. security treaty in 1960, Ishibashi, known as being well-versed in the fields of diplomacy and defense, grilled then Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi. He was part of the JSP's "Anpo Gonin Otoko," or the squad of five men versed in issues related to the security treaty. Also among them was former JSP Chairman Ichio Asukata.

In 1966, Ishibashi published his vision for the JSP to run on a platform of unarmed neutrality. He succeeded Asukata as party chairman in 1983 after serving as secretary-general and deputy chairman.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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