Obituary: Fumio Abe

Kyodo News

Former Cabinet minister Fumio Abe, convicted of taking bribes, died Wednesday of heart failure at a hospital in Hakodate, Hokkaido, his family said. He was 84.

Abe was elected seven times to the House of Representatives starting in 1969 and served until he retired from politics in 1993. He held the Cabinet post heading up the former Hokkaido and Okinawa development agencies under Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu.

He was arrested in January 1992 on suspicion of taking bribes from steel-frame maker Kyowa Co. from 1989 to 1990 while holding the Cabinet post.

Abe said during his trial the 90 million yen he received from Kyowa was not a bribe but political donations.

The Tokyo District Court sentenced him in 1994 to three years in prison. His appeal was later rejected by the Tokyo High Court and the Supreme Court.