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New reconstruction minister Masayoshi Yoshino known for dedication to rebuilding disaster-hit hometown

Kyodo

New disaster reconstruction minister Masayoshi Yoshino, a Fukushima Prefecture native, is known for his commitment to restoring his hometown, which was hit hard by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami as well as the ensuing nuclear catastrophe.

Yoshino, a 68-year-old former senior vice environment minister with business experience in the forestry industry, represents a constituency covering coastal areas in Fukushima Prefecture.

In 2012, the House of Representatives member ran and won a Lower House seat through proportional representation for the Chugoku region, far from his hometown of Fukushima, at the request of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

His supporters urged him to leave the party at that time, but Yoshino resisted the call, saying he believed he could find a way to still support his hometown by remaining a Diet member. Yoshino held the Chugoku seat until 2014, when he returned to represent Fukushima.

Yoshino is now serving his sixth term as a Lower House lawmaker. He has served as special chair of the Lower House’s disaster reconstruction committee.