Mr. Wataru Takeshita, former Minister of Reconstruction, passed away on September 17 at the age of 74. He was the younger brother of the late former Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita and served for a long time as Chairman of the Takeshita Faction in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) which Mr. Noboru Takeshita founded. He had a sincere and moderate character and got along with anybody regardless of factions. He was a good friend of mine, and I met with him after he recovered from his serious illness about two years ago. He seemed to be in pain after his recent illness, and I often asked him to take care of himself.
The late Mr. Wataru Takeshita left pleasant memories to me. When I was working for the then Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) as a government official, I had already made up my mind to run for the election of members of the House of Representatives. I visited a small town in Niigata Prefecture sometime in the mid-1980s to deliver a lecture on Japan’s economy. Another lecturer in the same seminar was Mr. Wataru Takeshita who was a reporter of NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) at the time. I was excited to meet the younger brother of Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita who was a famous key figure in the LDP. He served as Prime Minister of Japan in 1987-1989. The two of us then moved to another town to deliver our lectures. Later in 1990, I was elected to the House of Representatives for the first time. In 2000, Mr. Wataru Takeshita ran for the election of members of the House of Representatives after he succeeded to his elder brother’s electoral district in Shimane Prefecture, and he won the election for the first time. Former Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita retired from politics just before this election and passed away during the election. Over ten years after our first encounter in Niigata Prefecture, I met with Mr. Wataru Takeshita at the Diet in 2000 and rejoiced at his victory in the election.