Former Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto dies

Sunday, July 2, 2006

Ryūtarō Hashimoto, who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 1996 to 1998, died in a Tokyo hospital on July 1, 2006. He was 68 years old.

Born in Soja city, Okayama Prefecture, he moved through the ranks of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), getting elected to the lower house of parliament for 14 consecutive terms. He held several cabinet posts and in 1989 became secretary general of the LDP.

He was Prime Minister of Japan from January 11, 1996 to July 30, 1998. He remained a powerful back-room player in Japanese politics until scandal forced him to resign his leadership position in 2004.