23:33 10 September 2016
TOKYO, Sept. 10, Kyodo
Koichi Kato, a former Liberal Democratic Party secretary general and top government spokesman, died of pneumonia on Friday at a Tokyo hospital, sources close to the lawmaker said Saturday. He was 77.
A one-time prime ministerial hopeful, Kato retired from politics in 2013 following his loss in a House of Representatives election in December the previous year, naming his third daughter Ayuko as his political successor.
After serving as an diplomat following his graduation from the University of Tokyo in 1963, Kato won a lower house seat for the first time in 1972 representing his native Yamagata. He represented the area until 2012, except for a 19-month period following his resignation due to a money scandal in April 2002.
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