Chikage Oogi - Political Career

Political Career

Strenuously lobbied to run by Takeo Fukuda, Oogi first elected to the House of Councillors as a member of the Liberal Democratic Party in 1977. She was voted out in 1989, but elected again in 1993. The following year she left the LDP and joined the Japan Renewal Party, which merged into the New Frontier Party on 10 December 1994. The NFP torn up on 31 December 1997, Oogi became a member of the Liberal Party, stringing along with Ichirō Ozawa.

It was in 2000 that Oogi came to the forefront. She founded the Conservative Party, renamed the New Conservative Party soon, and became its first leader in April. Prime Minister of Japan Yoshiro Mori appointed Oogi as Minister of Construction and Director General of the National Land Agency in July, and also as Minister of Transportation and Director General of Hokkaido Development Agency in December. When these ministries and agencies merged into the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport as a result of the administrative reform of 2001, Oogi was installed as its first minister. She drew the nameboard displayed at the entrance of the building of the ministry with black ink and a brush.

The New Conservative Party's debacle at the House of Councillors election in July 2001 heightened calls among party members for a change in leadership. Oogi resigned as party leader and was succeeded by Takeshi Noda on 17 September 2001.

Oogi joined the Liberal Democratic Party in 2003 again. She was installed as the 26th President of the House of Councillors on 30 July 2004. She attended at the World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments held by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in September 2005. In October 2006 she made an official visit to China.

In May 2007, Oogi announced her retirement from politics in July so that she could lead an ordinary life with her family. Her term of office expired on 28 July 2007.

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