• Kyodo

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Tenkoko Sonoda, part of the first group of women elected to the Lower House, died Thursday in a Tokyo hospital, her family said. She was 96.

A native of Tokyo, Sonoda was one of 39 women elected to the chamber in 1946, a year after women were given the right to vote and run in national elections.

Sonoda served three consecutive terms, during which she worked to improve women’s position in society. During her career she belonged to various parties, including the Japan Socialist Party.

After retiring from politics, she held key posts in such groups as the Asia-Pacific Ladies Friendship Society.

She was married to Sunao Sonoda, a Lower House lawmaker who was also a foreign minister. She gave birth while still serving as a lawmaker.

Sunao Sonoda died in 1984.

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