Obituary: Ryoichi Kuroda

Former Osaka Gov. Ryoichi Kuroda died of pneumonia Thursday at his home in Osaka, his family said Monday. He was 92.

Kuroda in 1975 became the first prefectural chief re-elected with backing only from the Japanese Communist Party.

A native of the city of Osaka, Kuroda first became head of the prefecture in 1971, helped by the JCP and the then Japan Socialist Party, having taught at Osaka City University and leading its law department.

In 1975, even after he had cut ties with the Japan Socialist Party due to policy differences, Kuroda was re-elected for a second term with support from the JCP. He lost in his bid for a third term in the 1979 election.

“Kuroda had great achievements,” JCP leader Kazuo Shii said Monday. “He worked toward reinforcing welfare, education and child care.”

While in office, Kuroda refused to accept a planned missile base in the prefecture, holding the view that the Self-Defense Forces are illegal under the Constitution.