Nakasone marks 50 years in Diet

Former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone was commended Feb. 13 for 50 years of service in the Diet. Nakasone, 78, is the fourth Diet member in Japanese parliamentary history to serve more than half a century.

The House of Representatives, to which Nakasone has been elected 19 times from Gunma Prefecture, gave public recognition to his long service in the Diet, during which he was prime minister as well as head of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, the Transport Ministry, the Defense Agency and the Science and Technology Agency. “Thanks to the diligent and high-principled people in this country, Japan has achieved great development over the past 50 years in terms of material affluence,” Nakasone told a plenary session of the chamber. “However, we now face an urgent need for social reforms, which I believe is largely due to defects in education provided in the postwar era,” said Nakasone, who is known to be critical of the government’s education policies.

He is effectively guaranteed lifetime status as a Diet member — as long as he wishes. The Liberal Democratic Party, to which Nakasone belongs, has decided to place Nakasone at the top of the LDP’s candidate priority list for the Lower House proportional representation constituency in the North Kanto region as long as he wants to work as a lawmaker.