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Ex-LDP Magnate Masakuni Murakami Dies at 88

Ex-LDP Magnate Masakuni Murakami Dies at 88

   Tokyo, Sept. 10 (Jiji Press)--Former Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Masakuni Murakami, who was known as a magnate in the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament, died at a hospital in Asaka, Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, on Thursday. He was 88.
   A native of the southwestern prefecture Fukuoka, Murakami won a Diet seat for the first time in the 1980 Upper House election, after serving as a secretary to a lawmaker. He was elected to the chamber three more times.
   In 1992, Murakami joined the cabinet for the first time, becoming labor minister under the administration of then Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa.
   Later, Murakami served as secretary-general for the LDP in the Upper House and then as chairman of the party's general assembly in the chamber. Murakami was well versed in parliamentary affairs and became known for his remarkable presence in the Upper House.
   Murakami was a member of the "quintet" who maneuvered behind the scenes in April 2000 to have then LDP Secretary-General Yoshiro Mori become prime minister to replace Keizo Obuchi after the then prime minister collapsed due to stroke in the month. The other four in the group were Mori, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio Aoki, then LDP acting Secretary-General Hiromu Nonaka and then LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Shizuka Kamei.

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