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Japan's Former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto Dies


Japan's former prime minister Ryutaro Hashimoto has died at the age of 68.

Mr. Hashimoto died at a hospital Saturday after undergoing surgery to remove a large part of his intestine. He had retired from politics last year due to his poor health.

Mr. Hashimoto served as Japan's prime minister from 1996 to 1998, is credited with helping Tokyo recover from its 1991 economic collapse.

He was largely known for his outspoken comments, particularly during the U.S.-Japan auto trade dispute.

He was elected as a member of the House of Representatives in 1963, and for decades was an influential politician for Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Prior to being elected prime minister, Mr. Hashimoto served in several high ranking positions, including Minister of Health and Welfare, and secretary-general of the LDP.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.