Ex-Japanese minister Hajime Ishii dies at 87

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Hajime Ishii

TOKYO, June 6 (Jiji Press) — Former Japanese home affairs minister Hajime Ishii died of acute heart failure in Tokyo on Saturday. He was 87.

Ishii served in the now-defunct ministerial position and concurrently as chairman of the National Public Safety Commission under the administration of former Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata.

In 1977, when he was parliamentary vice minister of transport, Ishii led the Japanese government’s delegation sent to negotiate for the release of hostages in the incident in which the Japanese Red Army hijacked a Japan Airlines plane and forced it to land in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.

Ishii was elected to Japan’s parliament for the first time in the 1969 House of Representatives election. He was a member of the Liberal Democratic Party at the time.

After leaving the LDP in 1993, Ishii ended up in the Democratic Party of Japan, the predecessor of the current main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, after joining other parties.

At the DPJ, Ishii assumed key positions, including election strategy chief and deputy president.

Ishii has been elected to the Lower House 11 times in total and also served as a member of the House of Councillors, the Upper House, for one term.

He retired from politics after being defeated in the 2013 Upper House election.