Former Japan PM Kaifu dies at 91

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Former Japanese Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu, who worked on political reform after the so-called Recruit stock-for-favors scandal in the 1980s, died of old age at a Tokyo hospital Sunday morning. He was 91.

Kaifu, a native of Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, was first elected to the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, at the age of 29 in 1960, running on the ticket of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party from an Aichi constituency. He was elected 16 times in a row.

Kaifu became prime minister in August 1989 following the resignation of his predecessor, Sousuke Uno, due to the LDP’s defeat in the election of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber, that year.

In 1988, the Recruit scandal came to light. In the scandal, many politicians received shares in a soon-to-be listed affiliate of Recruit Co., now called Recruit Holdings Co.

Over the 1991 Gulf War, Kaifu’s government provided $13 billion mainly to support U.S.-led multinational forces. After the war, it sent Maritime Self-Defense Force minesweepers to the Persian Gulf, marking the first overseas dispatch of the SDF.

He announced a “serious determination” as soon as political reform legislation featuring the introduction of the combination of single-seat constituencies and proportional representation blocs was killed.