Ex-Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Muraoka Dies at 88

Society Politics

Tokyo, Dec. 26 (Jiji Press)--Former Japanese House of Representatives lawmaker Kanezo Muraoka, who served in such key posts as chief cabinet secretary, died of cancer at his home in Tokyo on Wednesday. He was 88.

A native of Akita Prefecture, Muraoka won a seat on the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament, for the first time in 1972 by running in the Lower House election in the year from a constituency in the northeastern Japan prefecture. Before that, he was a member of the Akita prefectural assembly.

He was elected to the Lower House nine times. After serving as posts and telecommunications minister and transport minister, Muraoka, who was a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, became chief cabinet secretary in 1997 under the cabinet of then Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto.

At the LDP, Muraoka took up posts including Diet affairs chief and chairman of the General Council. He had a major influence on road policies.

In the September 2003 LDP leadership election, the intraparty faction then led by Hashimoto, to which Muraoka belonged, allowed its members to vote for their own favorite candidates. Muraoka was bashed by Hiromu Nonaka, a senior member of the faction, as he expressed support for then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, a member of a different LDP faction, who ran for reelection as LDP president.

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