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Ex-reconstruction minister Matsumoto dies at 67

Ryu Matsumoto is pictured in this file photo taken in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward in July 2011. (Mainichi)

Former Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) legislator Ryu Matsumoto, who was appointed as reconstruction minister after the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear disaster, died on July 21 of lung cancer. He was 67.

    A grandson of former House of Councillors Vice President Jiichiro Matsumoto, Ryu Matsumoto won a seat in the House of Representatives for the first time after running in the 1990 general election on the ticket of the then Japan Socialist Party after serving as a secretary to his father and upper house member Eiichi Matsumoto. He served seven consecutive terms as a lower house member.

    Matsumoto joined the now defunct DPJ when it was founded in 1996. In the previous administration led by the DPJ, he served as environment minister and minister in charge of disaster prevention.

    He chaired the 10th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya in October 2010 and played a leading role in the convention's adoption of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing.

    In June 2011, Matsumoto was appointed as minister in charge of reconstruction of regions devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster. However, he was forced to resign only nine days later after he told the governors of disaster-hit Iwate and Miyagi prefectures that the central government "won't help those who don't attempt to apply ingenuity" in restoring affected areas and people's livelihoods.

    Matsumoto was defeated in the 2012 general election and did not run in the following election in 2014.

    Matsumoto is survived by his wife Tamami.

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