Obituary: Takao Fujinami

Kyodo News

Former Chief Cabinet Secretary Takao Fujinami died Sunday at a hospital in Mie Prefecture, sources in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said. He was 74.

Fujinami was elected as a Lower House member in 1967 and was appointed labor minister in 1979. He became chief Cabinet secretary in 1983 in the second Cab- Fujinami inet of Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone and promoted administrative reforms.

He also helped promote Nakasone’s policies, including his official visit to Yasukuni Shrine and ending the defense budget cap of 1 percent of the country’s gross national product.

He was once seen as a prospective prime minister but was disgraced by his involvement in the Recruit Co. stock-for-favor scandal. In 1989, he was indicted for accepting more than ¥40 million in cash and unlisted shares as a bribe from the company.

The Tokyo District Court acquitted him in 1994. But the Tokyo High Court reversed the decision in 1997, sentencing him to three years in prison, suspended for four years. The decision was finalized by the Supreme Court in 1999. He maintained his innocence throughout his legal battle.

Due to the scandal, Fujinami left the LDP in 1989 and lost his seat in 1993. After coming back as a Lower House member in 1996, he returned to the LDP. He retired from politics in 2003.