Upper House President Takeo Nishioka, who broke with tradition when he called for the prime minister to step down, died of pneumonia on Nov. 5 at a Tokyo hospital. He was 75.
Nishioka is the first incumbent Upper House president to have passed away since November 1949 when Tsuneo Matsudaira died while in the post.
After taking office in July 2010, Nishioka attracted public attention the following spring for repeatedly calling on then Prime Minister Naoto Kan to step down over his handling of the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster and crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
It marked a rare departure for an Upper House president, who is supposed to be politically neutral.
Born in Nagasaki Prefecture, Nishioka entered politics in 1963 when he won a Lower House seat as an independent. He served as a Diet lawmaker for about 42 years, the longest among incumbent Diet members. He served 11 terms in the Lower House and two terms in the Upper House.
He spent his political career in the Liberal Democratic Party, the New Liberal Club, the New Frontier Party (Shinshinto) and the Liberal Party before joining the Democratic Party of Japan.
Nishioka won an Upper House seat in 2007 on the DPJ ticket under the proportional representation system. His successor is expected to be elected from the DPJ, the largest party in the Upper House.
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