TOKYO – Michihiko Kano, a former Japanese farm minister and veteran lawmaker, died Thursday of a blood disorder called polycythemia vera at a hospital in Yamagata Prefecture, people close to him said Friday. He was 79.
Kano served 11 terms as a House of Representatives lawmaker and was first elected in 1976 as a candidate of the Liberal Democratic Party. He moved to the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan later in his political career after joining several other parties, including the New Frontier Party that he was involved in establishing.
A native of Yamagata, he assumed the post of farm minister in both LDP and DPJ governments. He served as vice president of the DPJ, which held power between 2009 and 2012.
He was unable to win a seat in the lower house election in 2012 and also failed in his bid for an upper house seat the following year.