Former House of Representatives speaker and Liberal Democratic Party member Yoshio Sakurauchi has decided to retire from politics after complying with a request that he not be listed on the ballot for the upcoming Lower House election.
Although he had expressed his intention to run in the election, Sakurauchi, 88, was not included on the LDP’s list of candidates for proportional representation seats that was announced Thursday.
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori and LDP Secretary General Hiromu Nonaka visited Sakurauchi on Friday at the Lower House building to explain the LDP’s internal situation and ask for his agreement with the party’s decision to not include him as a candidate.
Sakurauchi agreed, according to the sources.
There has been strong pressure for senior candidates to retire because of fierce competition among the LDP over the ranking of candidates for the ballot.
Sakurauchi is the son of former Lower House member Yukio Sakurauchi, who served as finance minister before World War II.
Sakurauchi entered politics in 1947 and was elected 17 times to the Lower House and once to the House of Councilors.
During his political career he served as minister of international trade and industry, minister of agriculture, minister of forestry and fisheries, minister of construction and minister of foreign affairs.
Sakurauchi worked closely with former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone and was the leader of the Nakasone faction.
He became Lower House speaker in February 1990 and served in that position until June 1993.
He received a special award in 1999 for serving more than 50 years as lawmaker.