TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Former Japanese Justice Minister Okiharu Yasuoka has died of cancer, people close to him said Saturday. He was 79.
A native of the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima, Yasuoka served as justice minister in 2000 and again in 2008. He died at a Tokyo hospital on Friday afternoon.
Yasuoka was a lawyer before being elected to the House of Representatives for the first time in 1972. He served 13 terms in the lower house before he retired from politics in 2017 to be treated for pancreatic cancer.
He also held various senior positions within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the lower house relating to the revision of the country's Constitution.