Shizue Kato, 104; Japanese Legislator, Birth Control Activist

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Shizue Kato, 104, one of the first women elected to Japan's Parliament and the country's leading birth control advocate, died Saturday in Tokyo of causes associated with aging.

Kato worked to improve the status of women in Japan and began promoting birth control after meeting Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger in the United States in 1919. In 1998, Kato won the United Nations Population Award, which recognized her family planning work in developing countries.

She was elected to Parliament in 1946 and served for 28 years, retiring from politics in 1974.

Born in Tokyo in 1897, Kato graduated from the prestigious Gakushuin school in 1914.

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