TOKYO, Jan 14 (NHK) - Former Japanese Prime Minister Kaifu Toshiki has died at the age of 91. He was best-known for sending Japan's Self Defense Force to an overseas mission for the first time.

Kaifu served in a number of cabinet posts before becoming the country's prime minister in 1989. He was Japan's first leader born in the Showa era.

During the Gulf War, the Kaifu administration provided 13 billion dollars to coalition forces. After the war, his government decided to send Maritime Self-Defense Force minesweepers to the Persian Gulf. It was the first time the SDF conducted an overseas mission since it was established.

Kaifu was also known for his trademark style. He often sported a necktie with a polka dot pattern. He gained public support with his clean image and led the Liberal Democratic Party to victory in the 1990 election.