Yasuhiro Nakasone, the 101-year-old former prime minister who strengthened Japan's military alliance with the United States and privatized the Japanese National Railways (JNR) in the 1980s, died Friday, the Liberal Democratic Party said.

Nakasone was one of a handful of Japanese politicians dubbed yōkai (monster) due to their lengthy political careers and powerful influence. He served as prime minister from 1982 to 1987, when Japan was emerging as a new economic power, leading to trade frictions with the U.S.

A former officer of the Imperial Japanese Navy and native of Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, he challenged a number of political postwar taboos, based on his conservative political creeds.