Michio Watanabe

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Michio Watanabe
Michio Watanabe 1993.jpg
Watanabe in 1993
Native name 渡辺 美智雄
Born (1923-07-28)July 28, 1923
Ōtawara, Tochigi, Japan
Died September 15, 1995(1995-09-15) (aged 72)
Tokyo, Japan
Cause of death
Heart failure
Alma mater Tokyo College of Commerce
Occupation Politician
Political party
Liberal Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Sumiko Watanabe
Children Yoshimi Watanabe
Michiaki Watanabe

Michio Watanabe (渡辺 美智雄 Watanabe Michio?, July 28, 1923 – September 15, 1995) was a Japanese political figure. He was born in Ōtawara, Tochigi and graduated from the Tokyo College of Commerce (now Hitotsubashi University) in 1942.[1] He worked as a reporter for the Yomiuri Shimbun, a certified tax accountant, and a member of Tochigi prefectural assembly before serving as a member of House of Representatives of Japan.[citation needed]

He was a member of Seiran-kai, a conservative faction within the LDP, from 1973 to 1976.[2] He later served as Health Minister from 1976 to 1977, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Japan) from 1978 to 1979, and Minister of Finance from 1980 to 1982. He served as Deputy Prime Minister of Japan and Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1991 to 1993, and made unsuccessful bids for the presidency of the Liberal Democratic Party in 1991 and 1993.[1] He gained some international notoriety for stating in 1988 that African Americans had "no qualms about not paying their bills," and for stating in 1995 that the Japanese annexation of Korea was done with Korea's consent.[1]

Although he was ideologically opposed to communist China and favored Taiwan, he made efforts as Deputy Prime Minister to facilitate diplomacy between China and Japan in the wake of the Tiananmen Square incident, developing a relationship with the Chinese ambassador to Japan. He visited China for a meeting with its foreign minister in 1992, and the dialogue during this visit paved the way for Emperor Akihito to visit China later that year.[2]

He was hospitalized for gallstones in 1992, but rumors of a more serious illness spread shortly thereafter, and he resigned for health reasons in 1993. After leading a Japanese delegation to North Korea in March 1995, he died from heart failure in September 1995.[1] His eldest son, Yoshimi Watanabe, inherited his Diet seat and serves as the leader of Your Party. His grandson Michitaro Watanabe (the eldest son of his second son Michiaki Watanabe) is a member of the House of Councillors.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Pollack, Andrew (16 September 1995). "Michio Watanabe, 72, of Japan; Powerful Minister Despite Gaffes". New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "渡辺喜美氏、日中関係悪化「オヤジは非常に悔しいと…」". Nihon Keizai Shimbun. 23 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "渡辺喜美家系図". Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Noboru Takeshita
Minister for Finance of Japan
Succeeded by
Noboru Takeshita
Preceded by
Taro Nakayama
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
Succeeded by
Kabun Mutō
Preceded by
Kiichi Miyazawa
Deputy Prime Minister of Japan
Succeeded by
Masaharu Gotōda