Former leader of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) Kenji Miyamoto died Wednesday of old age at a Tokyo hospital at the age of 98, Kyodo News said.
Miyamoto, born in Yamaguchi prefecture of southern Japan, was in a leading position of the JCP for half a century. He became general secretary in 1958 and presidium chairman in 1970.
Miyamoto remained in the post of chairman until his retirement in September 1997, and then held only an honorary post.
He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University's economic department and joined the party in 1931. Miyamoto was arrested by the military police in 1933 over the death of a police spy and was imprisoned for 12 years until Japan surrendered in World War II in 1945.