Obituaries : Sanzo Nosaka; Japanese Communist

Associated Press

Sanzo Nosaka, a founder of Japan's Communist Party who was expelled last year for allegedly betraying a fellow party leader, has died. He was 101.

Nosaka died at his home Sunday.

He helped found the party in 1922, became chairman of its Central Committee in 1958 and was named honorary chairman in 1982.

But he was kicked out Dec. 27, after fellow members said they obtained a 1939 letter he had written to Moscow stating that fellow leader Kenzo Yamamoto might have secretly communicated with Japan after traveling to the Soviet Union in 1928. Nosaka was living in exile in the United States at the time.

The Communist Party said the Soviets executed Yamamoto as a spy.

Nosaka confirmed that the letter was his, but declined to discuss it further, the party said.

Officials said Nosaka never reported writing the letter during the years the party sought to learn what had happened to Yamamoto. Nosaka also wrote in his autobiography that he had tried to help Yamamoto.

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