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Journalist and former Upper House member Hideo Den died last week of respiratory failure in a Tokyo hospital, his family said Tuesday. He was 86.

A native of Tokyo and a graduate of the University of Tokyo’s economics department, Den went to work for Kyodo News in 1947 and covered Japan’s first Antarctic expedition in 1956.

He became one of Japan’s first newscasters in 1962 on TBS but stepped down in 1968 under government pressure over his reporting as one of the first international journalists to cover the Vietnam War from Hanoi.

Den’s pacifist stance was based on his wartime experience as a mobilized student, particularly as a crew member of a torpedo boat on a suicide mission near the end of World War II.

He was first elected to the Upper House in 1971, winning the most votes of any candidate, on the Socialist ticket and served in the chamber for 34 years until 2007.

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