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Former tax chief Kato dies at age 86

Kyodo

Economist Hiroshi Kato, a longtime chairman of the Tax Commission, died of heart failure Wednesday, his scholarship foundation announced Friday. He was 86.

Kato was honorary president of Chiba University of Commerce, honorary professor at Keio University and head of the Obara Shiraume Scholarship Foundation.

Following his appointment as a Keio professor in 1966, Kato served on panels advising the government on the privatization of the Japanese National Railways and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corp. in the 1980s.

He joined the Tax Commission in 1987 and served as its chairman from 1990 to 2000. Kato supported various tax reforms, including the introduction of the consumption tax in 1989 and its subsequent hike to 5 percent eight years later.

He later advised the government on regulatory reforms and the privatization of the postal system.