Upper House chief Hirata to retire


House of Councilors President Kenji Hirata plans to retire when his six-year term expires in late July.

“I have decided on my retirement by taking into account my age and health conditions,” the 69-year-old Democratic Party of Japan veteran told a meeting of its prefectural chapter in Gifu on Sunday.

The triennial Upper House election this summer will put half of the chamber’s 242 seats up for grabs. The DPJ is the biggest single force in the opposition-controlled Upper House.

At a news conference after the meeting, Hirata said it was time for the younger generation to take control.

Hirata was elected to the Upper House for the first time in 1995 from Gifu Prefecture and is serving his third consecutive term.