Veteran lawmaker Shizuka Kamei announces he will retire from politics


Former Japanese Financial Services Minister Shizuka Kamei on Thursday announced his decision to retire from politics.

At a news conference in the city of Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, the veteran politician, 80, said that he will not run in the Oct. 22 general election for the House of Representatives.

“It’s hard for me to find a partner who would work with me under the current situation in the country’s political world,” he said.

A native of Hiroshima Prefecture, Kamei won his first Diet seat in the 1979 election for the Lower House. He was then returned to the chamber 12 times.

Touching on impressive events during his political career, Kamei cited the establishments in 1994 of the coalition government of Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama and in 2009 of the coalition government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

The government of Murayama, including his socialist party and the Liberal Democratic Party, toppled the eight-way coalition government of Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa that ousted the nation’s long-ruling LDP.

Kamei, then an LDP member, served as transport minister under the Murayama administration.

He left the LDP in 2005 and joined the now-defunct People’s New Party, which was created in the same year.

Kamei served as financial services minister under the Hatoyama government, led by the then Democratic Party of Japan, to which the LDP lost power. The LDP retook the reins of government in 2012.

At the news conference, Kamei criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also LDP president, for dissolving the Lower House at a time when North Korea is escalating its provocations.

Kamei, now an independent, also deplored the current situation in Japan, noting that Tokyo is prospering while rural areas are in the doldrums.

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