Hirohisa Fujii, a former finance minister and political heavyweight in the now-defunct main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, died at his home in Tokyo on Sunday morning, a person close to him said Tuesday. He was 90.
A native of Tokyo, the former party secretary-general was known as a strong advocate of raising consumption tax to support Japan's graying population.
A former head of the party's tax commission, Fujii also helped reform the nation's social security and tax systems, including implementing a consumption tax hike in 2011 when the DPJ was in power with Yoshihiko Noda as prime minister.
After a career as a Finance Ministry official, Fujii was first elected to the House of Councilors in 1977 as a member of the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
He later switched to the House of Representatives and won a seat in the Lower House in 1990.
An advocate of political reforms, Fujii, together with then-LDP heavyweight Ichiro Ozawa, left the party and formed the now-defunct Japan Renewal Party in 1993. He then served as finance minister under non-LDP administrations led by Morihiro Hosokawa and Tsutomu Hata.
Subsequently, Fujii joined the Ozawa-led Liberal Party before it merged with the DPJ in 2003. He assumed the position of finance minister again after the main opposition party came to power in a landslide victory in the 2009 general election. He retired from politics in 2012.