Satsuki Eda, former president of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of Japan’s parliament, died of pneumonia at a hospital in the western city of Okayama on Wednesday. He was 80.
The judge-turned-politician was first elected to the Upper House in 1977, following the death of his father, Saburo Eda, former secretary-general of the Socialist Party.
In 1985, Eda became leader of a party established by former Socialist Party members. In 1993, he got his first Cabinet job, appointed as head of the Science and Technology Agency under a coalition government led by Morihiro Hosokawa.
After belonging to two different parties later on, Eda took part in the launch of the Democratic Party of Japan in 1998.
Eda was picked as Upper House president in 2007, at a time of the so-called “twisted Parliament” with the two parliamentary chambers respectively controlled by the ruling and opposition camps.
Under the DPJ-led government inaugurated in 2009, Eda served as justice minister and environment minister. It was unusual for a former Upper House president to assume a Cabinet post. He retired from politics in 2016.
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