|Koizumi in March 2010|
|Prime Minister of Japan|
26 April 2001 – 26 September 2006
|Preceded by||Yoshirō Mori|
|Succeeded by||Shinzō Abe|
|Minister for Foreign Affairs|
26 January 2002 – 16 February 2002
|Preceded by||Makiko Tanaka|
|Succeeded by||Yoriko Kawaguchi|
|Minister of Health and Welfare|
7 November 1996 – 29 July 1998
|Prime Minister||Ryutaro Hashimoto|
|Preceded by||Naoto Kan|
|Succeeded by||Sohei Miyashita|
27 December 1988 – 10 August 1989
|Preceded by||Takao Fujimoto|
|Succeeded by||Saburo Toida|
|Minister of Post and Telecommunications|
12 December 1992 – 20 July 1993
|Prime Minister||Kiichi Miyazawa|
|Preceded by||Hideo Watanabe|
|Succeeded by||Kiichi Miyazawa|
|Member of the Japanese Parliament
for Kanagawa 11th district
|Preceded by||New constituency|
|Succeeded by||Shinjirō Koizumi|
8 January 1942 |
|Political party||Liberal Democratic Party|
|Spouse(s)||Kayoko Miyamoto (m. 1978–82)|
Junichiro Koizumi (小泉 純一郎 Koizumi Jun'ichirō , born 8 January 1942) is a Japanese politician who was the 87th Prime Minister of Japan from 2001 to 2006. He retired from politics when his term in parliament ended in 2009.
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. His visits to Yasukuni Shrine led to diplomatic tensions with neighboring China and South Korea. Koizumi was the fifth longest serving prime minister in the history of Japan.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Member of House of Representatives
- 3 Prime minister
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Koizumi cabinets
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Koizumi is a third-generation politician. His father, Jun'ya Koizumi, was director general of the Japan Defense Agency and a member of the Diet. His grandfather, Koizumi Matajirō,called "Tattoo Minister" because of his big tattoo on his body, and the leader of Koizumi Gumi in Kanagawa (a big group of "yakuza") 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 8 January 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 Kanagawa 11th district. 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" (after the YKK Group well known for manufacturing zippers). 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 24 April 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. He was made Prime Minister of Japan on 26 April, and his coalition secured 78 of 121 seats in the Upper House elections in July.
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (October 2012)|
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 International Monetary Fund and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. 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.
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.
Self-Defense Forces policy
Although Koizumi did not initially campaign on the issue of defense reform, 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 on 9 January 2007.
Visits to Yasukuni Shrine
Koizumi has often been noted for his controversial visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, starting on 13 August 2001. He visited the shrine six times as prime minister. Because the shrine honors Japan's war dead, which also include many convicted Japanese war criminals and 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. 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. 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 15 August 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. Koizumi's last visit as prime minister was on 15 August 2006, fulfilling a campaign pledge to visit on the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II.
Eleven months after his resignation as prime minister, Koizumi revisited the shrine on 15 August 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.
Statements on World War II
On 15 August 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". 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.
Koizumi was at certain points in his tenure an extremely popular leader. Most people know him very well due to his trademark 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". 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 a contraction of Junichiro). In June 2001, he enjoyed an approval rating of 85 percent.
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.
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 several abductee's returns to Japan. 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 8 August 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.
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 reform of the postal service, 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.
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 20 September 2006, Shinzo Abe was elected to succeed Koizumi as president of the LDP. Abe succeeded Koizumi as prime minister on 26 September 2006.
Koizumi remained in the Diet through the administrations of Abe and Yasuo Fukuda. He announced his retirement from politics on 25 September 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. Koizumi supported Yuriko Koike in the LDP leadership election held earlier in September 2008, but Koike placed a distant third.
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.
The marriage ended in divorce in 1982, as Kayoko was reportedly unhappy with her married life for several reasons. After this divorce, Koizumi never married again, saying that divorce consumed ten times more energy than marriage.
Koizumi had custody of two of his three sons: Kōtarō Koizumi and Shinjirō 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 and has never met Koizumi. Yoshinaga 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. Koizumi's ex-wife Kayoko Miyamoto has asked unsuccessfully several times to meet their two oldest sons.
Koizumi is a fan of Richard Wagner and has released a CD of his favorite pieces by contemporary Italian composer Ennio Morricone. He is also a fan of the heavy metal band X Japan, with the LDP having even used their song "Forever Love" in television commercials in 2001. It was also reported that he was influential in getting the museum honoring X Japan's deceased guitarist hide made.
Koizumi is also a noted fan of Elvis Presley, with whom he shares a birthday (8 January). 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 30 June 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.
Koizumi also appreciates Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. On 8 September 2006, he and Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen visited the Sibelius' home, where 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. His political career is parodied in a seinen manga, Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku, which re-interprets his life as a mahjong master.
He has been compared many times to American actor Richard Gere, because of their similar hair style. In 2005, he used the latter as a boost for his falling popularity, by staging an "impromptu ballroom dance performance".
- Makiko Tanaka was fired on 29 January 2002. Koizumi served as interim foreign minister until 1 February, when he appointed then-environment minister Yoriko Kawaguchi to the post. Koizumi appointed Hiroshi Oki to replace Kawaguchi.
- Oshima resigned on 31 March 2003 due to a farm-subsidy scandal. He was replaced by Kamei, who was kept in the next reshuffle.
- 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.
- Fukuda resigned on 7 May 2004 and was replaced by Hosoda.
- "Koizumi to exit political stage", The Japan Times, 26 September 2008.
- Anderson, Gregory E., "Lionheart or Paper Tiger? A First-term Koizumi Retrospective[dead link]," Asian Perspective 28:149–182, March 2004.
- '「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
- "Diet closes for summer, puts lid on Koizumi legacy[dead link]," Japan Times (registration required), 17 June 2006.
- "Lawmakers visit Japanese Embassy to protest Koizumi's planned Seoul trip[dead link]," The Korea Herald, 12 October 2001.
- "Koizumi not backing down on Yasukuni," The Japan Times (registration required), 26 January 2006.
- "Koizumi shrine visit stokes anger". BBC News. 15 August 2006. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
- Yahoo news[dead link]
- Former Japanese PM Koizumi Visits War Shrine in Tokyo (Update4)
- CNN http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/asiapcf/08/15/pacific.victoryday/
|url=missing title (help).[dead link]
- Koizumi's popularity hits fresh peak[dead link], CNN, 12 June 2001.
- "Koizumi ally quits politics over scandal," BBC News, 8 April 2002.
- "New Komeito exec signals willingness to jump LDP ship," The Japan Times(registration required), 28 July 2005.
- Sachiko Sakamaki and Takahiko Hyuga, "Koizumi, Former Japan Premier, to Quit Parliament After Aso Win", Bloomberg, 26 September 2008.
- "Japan's Destroyer," TIME, 10 September 2001.
- "[Koizumi's ex-wife ready to lend a hand, has 'nothing to lose']," Kyodo News, 9 May 2001.
- "[For Japanese, a Typical Tale of Divorce]," The Washington Post, 19 May 2001.
- Japanese PM keeps lost son at bay," '"The Times, 4 September 2005.
- For Japanese, a Typical Tale of Divorce
- Watashi no daisuki na morrikone myujikku, ASIN B000ALJ04G. Amazon link
- "Japanese PM's son seeks limelight". BBC News. 2001-08-01. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
- "LDP unveils new TV commercials, poster featuring Koizumi". thefreelibrary.com. 2001-05-16. Retrieved 2013-07-00.
- "Crystal Skulls: ‘hatsumode’ for the groove generation; Yokosuka joins the party". The Japan Times. 2003-02-01. Retrieved 2013-07-09.
- Singing Japan PM tours Graceland, BBC News, 30 June 2006.
- "The Prime Minister Observes Ainola". Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet. September 2006. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "Sibelius is celebrated in Japan". EMBASSY OF FINLAND, Tokyo. 20 September 2007. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Kubota, Yoko (13 October 2009). "After quitting politics, Japan's Koizumi turns superhero". Reuters.
- "Richard Gere, Japan's PM share a dance". CTV. 29 March 2005.[dead link]
- "Koizumi takes a turn with Gere". BBC News. 29 March 2005.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Junichiro Koizumi.|
- Speeches and Statements by Junichiro Koizumi
- Profile of Prime Minister Koizumi
- Yasukuni Shrine official website
|House of Representatives of Japan|
|Representative for Kanagawa's 2nd district (multi-member)
|New constituency||Representative for Kanagawa's 11th district
|Prime Minister of Japan
|Minister of Foreign Affairs