• Kyodo


Democratic Party of Japan member and former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku has announced he will retire from politics and will not run in next month’s general election, saying he wants to make way for the younger generation.

The 68-year-old lawyer-turned-politician was a prominent figure during the DPJ’s time in power but in 2012 he lost his seat in a constituency in Tokushima Prefecture, during the last Lower House election.

“It is better that young people fight (the election) to mobilize anti-ruling Liberal Democratic Party forces that can achieve a change of power,” Sengoku said at a press conference in the city of Tokushima on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced earlier the same day that he will dissolve the House of Representatives on Friday for a general election.

The DPJ’s prefectural chapter held a meeting of senior officials on Tuesday and decided to field former Lower House lawmaker Hirobumi Niki, 48, in a Tokushima constituency.

Sengoku was elected to the House of Representatives six times after winning a seat for the first time in 1990 as a lawmaker with the Japan Socialist Party, the predecessor of the Social Democratic Party.

His posts included DPJ policy chief and state minister in charge of drafting national strategy. He was appointed Chief Cabinet Secretary under the government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan, which launched in 2010.

Sengoku faced a censure motion at the House of Councilors for his handling of a collision that year between a Chinese fishing boat and two Japanese patrol boats near the Senkaku Islands. He drew flak for allowing prosecutors to release the boat’s captain while Kan was overseas.

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