Ex-Japanese Justice Min. Megumu Sato Dies at 96

Society Politics

Tokyo, Jan. 10 (Jiji Press)--Former Japanese Justice Minister Megumu Sato, known for his stance of opposing execution, died of chronic heart failure at a hospital in the western Japan city of Osaka on Saturday. He was 96.

A native of Osaka Prefecture, Sato won a seat on the Diet, Japan's parliament, for the first time in the 1969 election for the House of Representatives, the Diet's lower chamber, running in the poll from a constituency in the prefecture on the ticket of the Liberal Democratic Party.

He was later elected to the Lower House nine times. Before becoming lawmaker, Sato worked for the former Posts and Telecommunications Ministry, now the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

Sato served as justice minister between 1990 and 1991 under the cabinet of then Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu. But Sato stirred a controversy by refusing to sign a document on the implementation of capital punishment because he was a monk of the Shinshu Otani-ha branch of the Jodo Shinshu school of Buddhism. He also served as posts and telecommunications minister.

Sato retired from politics in 2000. LDP lawmaker Akira Sato, a member of the Lower House elected from an Osaka Prefecture constituency, is a son-in-law of the deceased former politician.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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