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In this Japanese name, the family name is Koizumi.
Junichiro Koizumi
小泉 純一郎


In office
26 April 2001 – 26 September 2006
Monarch Akihito
Preceded by Yoshirō Mori
Succeeded by Shinzō Abe

In office
26 January 2002 – 16 February 2002
Preceded by Makiko Tanaka
Succeeded by Yoriko Kawaguchi

In office
7 November 1996 – 29 July 1998
Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto
Preceded by Naoto Kan
Succeeded by Sohei Miyashita
In office
27 December 1988 – 10 August 1989
Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita
Sōsuke Uno
Preceded by Takao Fujimoto
Succeeded by Saburo Toida

In office
12 December 1992 – 20 July 1993
Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa
Preceded by Hideo Watanabe
Succeeded by Kiichi Miyazawa

In office
1996–2009
Preceded by New constituency
Majority 197,037 (73.16%)

Born 8 January 1942 (1942-01-08) (age 68)
Yokosuka, Japan
Political party Liberal Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Kayoko Miyamoto (1978–1982)
Children Kotaro Koizumi
Shinjiro Koizumi
Yoshinaga Miyamoto
Alma mater Keio University
University College London

Junichiro Koizumi (小泉 純一郎 Koizumi Jun'ichirō?, born January 8, 1942) is a Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 2001 to 2006. He retired from politics when his term in parliament ended.[1]

Widely seen as a maverick leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), he became known as an economic reformer, focusing on Japan's government debt and the privatization of its postal service. In 2005, Koizumi led the LDP to win one of the largest parliamentary majorities in modern Japanese history.

Koizumi also attracted international attention through his deployment of the Japan Self-Defense Forces to Iraq, the first foreign deployment of the Japanese military since World War II. His visits to Yasukuni Shrine led to diplomatic tensions with neighboring China and Korea.

Koizumi is the only Prime Minster to have served more than five years in office since 1972.

Contents

Early life

Koizumi is a third-generation politician. His father, Junya Koizumi, was director general of the Japan Defense Agency and a member of the Diet. His grandfather, Koizumi Matajirō, was Minister of Posts and Telecommunications under Prime Ministers Hamaguchi and Wakatsuki and an early advocate of postal privatization. See Koizumi family.

Born in Yokosuka, Kanagawa prefecture on January 8, 1942, Koizumi was educated at Yokosuka High School and Keio University, where he studied economics. He attended University College London before returning to Japan in August 1969 upon the death of his father.

He stood for election to the lower house in December; however, he did not earn enough votes to win election as a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) representative. In 1970, he was hired as a secretary to Takeo Fukuda, who was Minister of Finance at the time and was elected as Prime Minister in 1976.

In the general elections of December 1972, Koizumi was elected as a member of the Lower House for the 11th District of Kanagawa Prefecture. He joined Fukuda's faction within the LDP. Since then, he has been re-elected ten times.

Member of House of Representatives

Koizumi gained his first senior post in 1979 as Parliamentary Vice Minister of Finance, and his first ministerial post in 1988 as Minister of Health and Welfare under Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita. He held cabinet posts again in 1992 (Minister of Posts and Telecommunications in the Miyazawa cabinet) and 1996–1998 (Minister of Health and Welfare in the Uno and Hashimoto cabinets).

In 1994, with the LDP in opposition, Koizumi became part of a new LDP faction, Shinseiki, made up of younger and more motivated parliamentarians led by Taku Yamasaki, Koichi Kato and Koizumi, a group popularly dubbed "YKK." He competed for the presidency of the LDP in September 1995 and July 1998, but he gained little support losing decisively to Ryutaro Hashimoto and then Keizō Obuchi, both of whom had broader bases of support within the party. However, after Yamasaki and Kato were humiliated in a disastrous attempt to force a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Yoshirō Mori in 2000, Koizumi became the last remaining credible member of the YKK trio, which gave him leverage over the reform-minded wing of the party.

On April 24, 2001, Koizumi was elected president of the LDP. He was initially considered an outside candidate against Hashimoto, who was running for his second term as Prime Minister. However, in the first poll of prefectural party organizations, Koizumi won 87 to 11 percent; in the second vote of Diet members, Koizumi won 51 to 40 percent. He defeated Hashimoto by a final tally of 298 to 155 votes.[2] He was made Prime Minister of Japan on April 26, and his coalition secured 78 of 121 seats in the Upper House elections in July.

Prime minister

Domestic policy

Within Japan, Koizumi pushed for new ways to revitalise the moribund economy, aiming to act against bad debts with commercial banks, privatize the postal savings system, and reorganize the factional structure of the LDP. He spoke of the need for a period of painful restructuring in order to improve the future.

In the fall of 2002, Koizumi appointed Keio University economist and frequent television commentator Heizō Takenaka as Minister of State for Financial Services and head of the Financial Services Agency (FSA) to fix the country's banking crisis. Bad debts of banks were dramatically cut with the NPL ratio of major banks approaching half the level of 2001. The Japanese economy has been through a slow but steady recovery, and the stock market has dramatically rebounded. The GDP growth for 2004 was one of the highest among G7 nations, according to the IMF and OECD.[citation needed] Takenaka was appointed as a Postal Reform Minister in 2004 for the privatization of Japan Post, operator of the country's Postal Savings system.

Koizumi moved the LDP away from its traditional rural agrarian base toward a more urban, neoliberal core, as Japan's population grew in major cities and declined in less populated areas, although under current purely geographical districting, rural votes in Japan are still many times more powerful than urban ones. In addition to the privatization of Japan Post (which many rural residents fear will reduce their access to basic services such as banking), Koizumi also slowed down the LDP's heavy subsidies for infrastructure and industrial development in rural areas. These tensions made Koizumi a controversial but popular figure within his own party and among the Japanese electorate.

Foreign policy

Koizumi and U.S. President George W. Bush meet at the White House on September 25, 2001

Although Koizumi's foreign policy was focused on closer relations with the United States and UN-centered diplomacy, which were adopted by all of his predecessors, he went further to pursue supporting the US policies in the War on Terrorism. He decided to deploy the Japan Self-Defense Forces to Iraq, which was the first military mission in active foreign war zones since the end of the World War II. Many Japanese commentators indicated that the favorable US-Japan relation was based on the Koizumi's personal friendship with the US President George W. Bush. In the North Korean abductions and nuclear development issues, he took more assertive attitudes than his predecessors.[3]

Self-Defense Forces policy

Although Koizumi did not initially campaign on the issue of defense reform,[2] he approved the expansion of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and in October 2001 they were given greater scope to operate outside of the country. Some of these troops were dispatched to Iraq. Koizumi's government also introduced a bill to upgrade the Japan Defense Agency to ministry status; finally, the Defense Agency became the Japanese Ministry of Defense in January 9, 2007.[4]

Visits to Yasukuni Shrine

Koizumi has often been noted for his controversial visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, starting on August 13, 2001. He visited the shrine six times as prime minister. Because the shrine honors many convicted Japanese war criminals, including 14 executed Class A war criminals, these visits drew strong condemnation and protests from both Japan's neighbours, mainly China and South Korea, and many Japanese citizens. China and South Korea's people hold bitter memories of Japanese invasion and occupation during the first half of the 20th century. China and South Korea refused to have their representatives meet Koizumi in Japan and their countries. There were no mutual visits between Chinese and Japanese leaders from October 2001, and between South Korean and Japanese leaders from June 2005. The standstill ended when the next prime minister Abe visited China and South Korea in October 2006.

In China, the visits led to massive anti-Japanese riots. The president, ruling and opposition parties, and much of the media of South Korea openly condemned Koizumi's pilgrimages.[5] Many Koreans applauded the president's speeches criticizing Japan, despite the South Korean President's low popularity. When asked about the reaction, Koizumi said the speeches were "for the domestic (audience)".

Although Koizumi signed the shrine's visitor book as "Junichiro Koizumi, the Prime Minister of Japan", he claimed that his visits were as a private citizen and not an endorsement of any political stance.[6] China and Korea found the claims weak as excuses. Several journals and news reports in Japan, such as one published by Kyodo News Agency on August 15, 2006, questioned Koizumi's statement of private purpose, as he recorded his position on the shrine's guestbook as prime minister. He visited the shrine annually in fulfillment of a campaign pledge, which was of course political in nature. Koizumi's last visit as prime minister was on August 15, 2006, fulfilling a campaign pledge to visit on the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II.[7]

Eleven months after his resignation as prime minister, Koizumi revisited the shrine on August 15, 2007, to mark the 62nd anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II. His 2007 visit attracted less attention from the media than his prior visits while he was in office.[8][9]

Statements on World War II

On August 15, 2005, the sixtieth anniversary of the end of World War II, Koizumi publicly stated that Japan was deeply saddened by the suffering it caused during World War II and vowed Japan would never again take "the path to war".[10] However, Koizumi was criticized for actions which allegedly ran contrary to this expression of remorse (e.g. the Yasukuni visits), which resulted in worsening relations with China and South Korea.

Popularity

Koizumi meets children in Sea Island, Georgia, shortly before the 2004 G8 summit.

Koizumi was at certain points in his tenure an extremely popular leader. Most people know him very well due to his wavy Grey hair. His outspoken nature and colourful past contributed to that; his nicknames included "Lionheart", due to his hair style and fierce spirit, and "Maverick".[2] During his tenure in office, the Japanese public referred to him as Jun-chan (the suffix "chan" in the Japanese language is used as a term of familiarity, typically between children, "Jun" is likely a contraction of Junichiro). In June 2001, he enjoyed an approval rating of 85 percent.[11]

In January 2002, Koizumi sacked his popular Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka, replacing her with Yoriko Kawaguchi. Following an economic slump and a series of LDP scandals that claimed the career of YKK member Koichi Kato, by April Koizumi's popularity rating had fallen 40 percentage points since his nomination as prime minister.[12]

Koizumi was re-elected in 2003 and his popularity surged as the economy recovered. His proposal to cut pension benefits as a move to fiscal reform turned out to be highly unpopular. Two visits to North Korea to solve the issue of abducted Japanese nationals only somewhat raised his popularity, as he could not secure the return to Japan of many abductees. In the House of Councilors elections in 2004, the LDP performed only marginally better than the opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).

In 2005, the House of Councilors rejected the contentious postal privatization bills. Koizumi previously made it clear that he would dissolve the lower house if the bill failed to pass. The Democratic Party, while expressing support for the privatization, made a tactical vote against the bill. Fifty-one LDP members also either voted against the bills or abstained.

On August 8, 2005, Koizumi, as promised, dissolved the House of Representatives and called for snap elections. He expelled rebel LDP members for not supporting the bill. The LDP's chances for success were initially uncertain; the secretary general of New Komeito (a junior coalition partner with Koizumi's Liberal Democratic Party) said that his party would entertain forming a coalition government with the Democratic Party of Japan if the DPJ took a majority in the House of Representatives.[13]

Koizumi's popularity rose almost twenty points after he dissolved the House and expelled rebel LDP members. Opinion polls ranked the government's approval ratings between 51 and 59 percent. The electorate saw the election in terms of a vote for or against the reform (privatisation), which the Democratic Party and rebel LDP members were seen as being against.

The September 2005 elections were the LDP's largest victory since 1986, giving the party a large majority in the House of Representatives and nullifying opposing voices in the House of Councilors. In the following Diet session, the last to be held under Koizumi's government, the LDP passed 82 of its 91 proposed bills, including postal privatization.[4]

Resignation

Koizumi announced that he would step down from office in 2006, per LDP rules, and would not personally choose a successor as many LDP prime ministers have in the past. On September 20, 2006, Shinzo Abe was elected to succeed Koizumi as president of the LDP. Abe succeeded Koizumi as prime minister on September 26, 2006.

Koizumi remained in the Diet through the administrations of Abe and Yasuo Fukuda. He announced his retirement from politics on September 25, 2008, shortly following the election of Taro Aso as Prime Minister. Koizumi retained his Diet seat until the next general election. His son Shinjiro was elected into his father's seat representing the Kanagawa 11th district in 2009.[1] Koizumi supported Yuriko Koike in the LDP leadership election held earlier in September 2008, but Koike placed a distant third.[14]

Personal life

Koizumi married 21-year-old university student Kayoko Miyamoto in 1978. The couple had been formally introduced to each other as potential spouses, a common practice known as omiai. The wedding ceremony at the Tokyo Prince Hotel was attended by about 2,500 people, including Takeo Fukuda (then Prime Minister), and featured a wedding cake shaped like the National Diet Building.[15]

The marriage ended in divorce in 1982, as Kayoko was reportedly unhappy with her married life for several reasons.[15] After this divorce, Koizumi never married again, saying that divorce consumed ten times more energy than marriage.[16]

Koizumi had custody of two of his three sons: Kotaro Koizumi and Shinjiro Koizumi, who were reared by one of his sisters. Shinjiro is the representative for Kanagawa's 11th district, a position his father has also filled. The youngest son, Yoshinaga Miyamoto, now a graduate of Keio University, was born following the divorce[17] and has never met Koizumi. The third son is known to have attended one of Koizumi's rallies, but was turned away from trying to meet his father. He was also turned away from attending his paternal grandmother's funeral.[18]

Koizumi, hosted by U.S. President George W. Bush, at Graceland in 2006

Koizumi is a fan of Richard Wagner, the Japanese band X Japan [19] and has released a CD of his favorite pieces by contemporary Italian composer Ennio Morricone.[20].

Koizumi is also a noted fan of Elvis Presley, with whom he shares a birthday (January 8). In 2001 he released a collection of his favorite Elvis songs on CD, with his comments about each song. His brother is Senior Advisor of the Tokyo Elvis Fan Club. Koizumi and his brother helped finance a statue of Elvis in Tokyo's Harajuku district. On June 30, 2006, Koizumi visited Presley's estate, Graceland, accompanied by U.S. President George W. Bush, and First Lady Laura Bush. After arriving in Memphis aboard Air Force One, they headed to Graceland. While there, Koizumi briefly sang a few bars of his favourite Elvis tunes, whilst warmly impersonating Presley, and wearing Presley's trademark oversized golden sunglasses.[21]

Koizumi also appreciates Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. He and Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen visited the Sibelius' home on September 8, 2006. There Koizumi showed respect to the late composer with a moment of silence. He owns reproductions of the manuscripts of all seven symphonies by Sibelius.

In 2009, Koizumi made a voice acting appearance in an Ultraman feature film, Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend The Movie, playing the voice of Ultraman King. Koizumi said he took on the role at the urging of his son Shinjiro.[22]

Koizumi cabinets

First
(April 26, 2001)
First, Realigned
(September 30, 2002)
Second
(November 19, 2003)
Second, Realigned
(September 22, 2004)
Third, Realigned
(October 31, 2005)
Secretary Yasuo Fukuda 4 Hiroyuki Hosoda Shinzo Abe
Internal Affairs Toranosuke Katayama Taro Aso Heizō Takenaka 3
Justice Mayumi Moriyama Daizo Nozawa Chieko Nohno Seiken Sugiura
Foreign Affairs Makiko Tanaka 1 Yoriko Kawaguchi Nobutaka Machimura Taro Aso
Finance Masajuro Shiokawa Sadakazu Tanigaki
Education Atsuko Toyama Takeo Kawamura Nariaki Nakayama Kenji Kosaka
Health Chikara Sakaguchi Hidehisa Otsuji Jirō Kawasaki
Agriculture Tsutomu Takebe Tadamori Oshima 2 Yoshiyuki Kamei Yoshinobu Shimamura Shoichi Nakagawa
Economy Takeo Hiranuma Shoichi Nakagawa Toshihiro Nikai
Land Chikage Oogi Nobuteru Ishihara Kazuo Kitagawa
Environment Hiroshi Oki 1 Shunichi Suzuki Yuriko Koike
Public Safety Jin Murai Sadakazu Tanigaki Kiyoko Ono Yoshitaka Murata Tetsuo Kutsukake
Disaster Prevention Yoshitada Konoike Kiichi Inoue
Defense Gen Nakatani Shigeru Ishiba Yoshinori Ohno Fukushiro Nukaga
Economic Policy Heizō Takenaka 3 Heizō Takenaka Heizō Takenaka Kaoru Yosano
Financial Affairs Hakuo Yanagisawa Tatsuya Ito
Admin. and Reg. Reform Nobuteru Ishihara Kazuyoshi Kaneko Seiichiro Murakami Kōki Chūma
Technology Koji Omi Hiroyuki Hosoda Toshimitsu Motegi Yasufumi Tanahashi Iwao Matsuda
Youth and Gender Kuniko Inoguchi

Notes:

  1. Makiko Tanaka was fired on January 29, 2002. Koizumi served as interim foreign minister until February 1, when he appointed then-environment minister Yoriko Kawaguchi to the post. Koizumi appointed Hiroshi Oki to replace Kawaguchi.
  2. Oshima resigned on March 31, 2003 due to a farm-subsidy scandal. He was replaced by Kamei, who was kept in the next reshuffle.
  3. Takenaka has also held the portfolio of Minister of State for Postal Privatization since the first Koizumi cabinet. He is the only person to serve on Koizumi's cabinet through all five reshuffles.
  4. Fukuda resigned on May 7, 2004 and was replaced by Hosoda.

See also

  • List of Prime Ministers of Japan
  • Richard Lloyd Parry, "Enigma behind Koizumi's winning smile", Times supplement to the Daily Yomiuri, Sunday, September 18, 2005, p. 15

References

  1. ^ a b "Koizumi to exit political stage", The Japan Times, September 26, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Anderson, Gregory E., "Lionheart or Paper Tiger? A First-term Koizumi Retrospective," Asian Perspective 28:149–182, March 2004.
  3. ^ http://www8.cao.go.jp/survey/tokubetu/h18/h18-jieitai.pdf '「自衛隊のイラク人道復興支援活動に関する特別世論調査」の概要', Cabinet Office of Japan
  4. ^ a b "Diet closes for summer, puts lid on Koizumi legacy," Japan Times (registration required), June 17, 2006.
  5. ^ "Lawmakers visit Japanese Embassy to protest Koizumi's planned Seoul trip," The Korea Herald, October 12, 2001.
  6. ^ "Koizumi not backing down on Yasukuni," The Japan Times (registration required), January 26, 2006.
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ Yahoo news
  9. ^ Former Japanese PM Koizumi Visits War Shrine in Tokyo (Update4)
  10. ^ http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/asiapcf/08/15/pacific.victoryday/
  11. ^ Koizumi's popularity hits fresh peak, CNN.com, June 12, 2001.
  12. ^ "Koizumi ally quits politics over scandal," BBC News, April 8, 2002.
  13. ^ "New Komeito exec signals willingness to jump LDP ship," The Japan Times (registration required), July 28, 2005.
  14. ^ Sachiko Sakamaki and Takahiko Hyuga, "Koizumi, Former Japan Premier, to Quit Parliament After Aso Win", Bloomberg.com, September 26, 2008.
  15. ^ a b "Japan's Destroyer," TIME, 10 September 2001.
  16. ^ "[Koizumi's ex-wife ready to lend a hand, has 'nothing to lose']," Kyodo News, May 9, 2001.
  17. ^ "[For Japanese, a Typical Tale of Divorce]," Washington Post, May 19, 2001.
  18. ^ Japanese PM keeps lost son at bay," '"The Times, September 4, 2005.
  19. ^ LDP unveils new TV commercials, poster featuring Koizumi
  20. ^ Watashi no daisuki na morrikone myujikku, ASIN B000ALJ04G. Amazon link
  21. ^ Singing Japan PM tours Graceland, BBC News, June 30, 2006.
  22. ^ [2]

External links

House of Representatives of Japan
Preceded by
Seiichi Tagawa
Eki Sone
Shōkichi Matsuo
Hideo Nakajima
Representative for Kanagawa's 2nd district (multi-member)
1972–1996
Constituency abolished
New constituency Representative for Kanagawa's 11th district
1996–2009
Succeeded by
Shinjirō Koizumi
Political offices
Preceded by
Yoshirō Mori
Prime Minister of Japan
2001–2006
Succeeded by
Shinzō Abe
Preceded by
Makiko Tanaka
Minister of Foreign Affairs
2002
Succeeded by
Yoriko Kawaguchi

Simple English

Junichiro Koizumi is the former Prime Minister of Japan. He was born on January 8, 1942 in Japan. He stepped down in 2006.

Early life

Born in Yokosuka on 8 January, 1942, Koizumi was taught at Yokosuka High School and Keio University, where he studied economics (how you make and spend money). He went to University College London before returning to Japan in August 1969 when his father died.

Yasukuni Shrine and Junichiro

While he was prime minster of Japan, he made China and South Korea very angry by continuing to visit the Yasukuni Shrine. He was succeeded by Shinzo Abe.

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