• Kyodo

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Former Cabinet Legislation Bureau chief Ichiro Komatsu died early Monday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced. He was 63.

Komatsu served as a senior legal aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who installed him, and supported Abe’s ongoing attempt to reinterpret the pacifist Constitution to sidestep Article 9 and allow Japan to play a greater security role overseas.

Komatsu stepped down from the post in mid-May due to ill health. He was suffering from cancer and had been briefly hospitalized in January.

“He fulfilled his role up to his physical limits,” Suga said at a news conference, praising him for his sincerity. Suga declined to disclose the cause of death at the request of Komatsu’s family.

In August 2013, Abe installed him as director-general of the influential Cabinet Legislation Bureau, which examines all government-sponsored legislation, legally advises Cabinet members and conducts research on laws and their implementation. It is highly influential in determining how the government can interpret the Constitution.