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Liberal Democratic Party heavyweight Sadanori Yamanaka, who influenced the nation’s tax policies in the 1980s as a champion for the consumption tax, died Friday at Juntendo University Hospital in Tokyo. He was 82.

Yamanaka was the longest-serving incumbent member of the House of Representatives, with a career of nearly half a century, and was also the most senior politician in the Diet.

He chaired the LDP Research Commission on the Tax System for eight years through 1989, overseeing major tax reform initiatives, and was called “Mr. Consumption Tax” for spearheading the April 1989 introduction of the consumption tax, a move that was then highly unpopular with the public.

Yamanaka remained a central member of the tax panel and wielded considerable clout in forming tax policies.

After graduating from a teacher training college in Taipei, he first became a newspaper reporter and entered local politics by winning a seat in the Kagoshima Prefectural Assembly.

In 1953, he entered national politics. He won 17 elections and held a seat in the chamber for 48 years. In 1990, he lost his seat by 28 votes but returned to the Lower House in the next election, in 1993.

Yamanaka held a number of Cabinet posts, including minister of international trade and industry.

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