The Daily Manila Shimbun


Uehara, 1st cabinet minister elected from Okinawa, dies

August 7, 2017

TOKYO- Former National Land Agency chief Kosuke Uehara, the first lawmaker elected from Okinawa Prefecture to become a cabinet minister in Japan, died of respiratory failure on Sunday. He was 84.

Uehara, a native of the southernmost Japanese prefecture, led the movement to seek the reversion of Okinawa, under US control since the end of World War II, to Japanese administration as head of a labor union of employees at US military bases in Okinawa.

In 1970, before Okinawa's May 1972 reversion to Japan, Uehara ran in an election to pick representatives from Okinawa in the Diet, Japan's parliament, from the former Social Democratic Party of Japan. He was elected to the House of Representatives and has since served 10 terms in the powerful lower chamber.

In 1993, then Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, who formed a coalition government of parties other than the Liberal Democratic Party, now the main force in the ruling coalition, appointed Uehara to head the National Land Agency and also the Hokkaido and Okinawa development agencies. Jiji Press