TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Yoshito Sengoku, who served as a top government spokesman and an administrative reform minister when the now-defunct Democratic Party of Japan was in power, died of lung cancer last week, the lower house secretariat said Tuesday. He was 72.
Sengoku concurrently served as the minister in charge of national strategy in the Cabinet of Yukio Hatoyama after the DPJ took power from the Liberal Democratic Party in 2009. Splinter groups from the DPJ formed the Democratic Party for the People earlier this year.
Sengoku, who died at his home in Tokyo on Thursday, worked as a lawyer versed in labor issues before entering politics.
He stepped down as the chief Cabinet secretary in early 2011 after a censure motion against him was passed in late 2010 for his handling of a collision between a Chinese fishing boat and two Japanese patrol boats near the Japanese-controlled, Chinese-claimed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.
After the March 2011 earthquake that hit northeastern Japan, Sengoku was appointed as a deputy chief Cabinet secretary to spearhead the government's disaster relief measures.
A native of Tokushima Prefecture in western Japan, Sengoku first won his Diet seat in 1990. He was elected to the House of Representatives six times before retiring from politics in 2014.