Kozo Igarashi, a former House of Representatives member who was chief Cabinet secretary in the government of Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama in the mid-1990s, died of pneumonia Tuesday at a Sapporo hospital, his family said. He was 87.
First elected from a Hokkaido constituency in 1980 as a member of the Japanese Socialist Party, then the main opposition and predecessor of the Social Democratic Party, he retained his lower chamber seat for five consecutive terms.
During his tenure as chief Cabinet secretary from June 1994 to August 1995, he played an active part in creating a fund for aiding Asian women who were forced into sexual servitude by the wartime Japanese military, and in enacting a bill to integrate aid to survivors of the 1945 atomic bombings.
A native of Hokkaido, he was mayor of Asahikawa for three terms from 1963 before turning to national politics, and became construction minister in 1993 under Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, whose eight-party coalition government dislodged the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party from power.