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LEAD: Former Foreign Minister Ikeda dies at 66.

TOKYO, Jan. 28 Kyodo


Former Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda, who led efforts to resolve the 1996-1997 hostage standoff in the Japanese ambassador's residence in Peru, died of rectum cancer early Wednesday morning at a Tokyo hospital, his family said. He was 66.

Ikeda, a House of Representatives member from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), served as foreign minister from January 1996 to September 1997 under then Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. He previously held the cabinet posts of director general of the Defense Agency and head of the then Management and Coordination Agency.

Two days after leftist guerrillas from the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement broke into a reception at the residence on Dec. 17, 1996, taking Japanese diplomats and guests hostage, Ikeda held a meeting with then Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori in Lima and they agreed to try to resolve the crisis by giving the top priority to the safety of the hostages.

The Peruvian military stormed into the residence in April 1997, killed the 14 hostage-takers, and saved all the remaining hostages except for one Peruvian.

Ikeda chaired the LDP's Policy Research Council and the party's General Council during the administration of the late Keizo Obuchi, who succeeded Hashimoto as premier.

In the Diet, he was a member of the lower house committees on foreign affairs and the budget.

A graduate of the University of Tokyo faculty of law, Ikeda joined the Finance Ministry before becoming a politician. He was first elected to the Diet in 1976 from Hiroshima Prefecture and was reelected for nine consecutive terms.

A by-election to fill his Hiroshima No. 5 constituency seat is likely to be held in April.

Ikeda married Noriko, the daughter of the late Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda, and took the Ikeda family name.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Feb 2, 2004
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