/

Political veteran Igarashi, former chief Cabinet secretary, dies at 87

Kyodo

Kozo Igarashi, a former Lower House member who was chief Cabinet secretary in the administration of Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama in the mid-1990s, died Tuesday of pneumonia in a Sapporo hospital, his family said. He was 87.

First elected from a Hokkaido district in 1980 as a member of the Japanese Socialist Party, then the main opposition force and the predecessor of the Social Democratic Party, Igarashi retained his Lower House seat for five terms.

During his tenure as chief Cabinet secretary from June 1994 to August 1995, Igarashi played an active part in creating a fund for aiding Asian women who were forced into sexual servitude by the wartime Japanese military, and in enacting a bill to integrate aid to survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings.

He was mayor of Asahikawa, Hokkaido, for three terms starting in 1963 before turning to national politics. He became construction minister in 1993 under Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa after an eight-party coalition dislodged the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party from power.