Takeo Fukuda

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Takeo Fukuda
福田 赳夫
Takeo fukuda.jpg
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
24 December 1976 – 7 December 1978
Monarch Shōwa
Preceded by Takeo Miki
Succeeded by Masayoshi Ōhira
Personal details
Born (1905-01-14)14 January 1905
Takasaki, Japan
Died 5 July 1995(1995-07-05) (aged 90)
Tokyo
Political party Liberal Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Mie Fukuda
Children 5
Alma mater Tokyo Imperial University
Signature

Takeo Fukuda (福田 赳夫 Fukuda Takeo?, 14 January 1905 – 5 July 1995) was a Japanese politician and the 67th Prime Minister of Japan (67th administration) from 24 December 1976 to 7 December 1978.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Fukuda was born in Gunma, capital of the Gunma Prefecture on 14 January 1905.[1] He hailed from a former Samurai family and his father was mayor of Gunma.[2] He held a law degree from University of Tokyo.[3]

Career[edit]

Before and during World War II, Fukuda served as a bureaucrat in the Finance Ministry and as Chief Cabinet Secretary. After the war, he became director of Japan's banking bureau from 1946 to 1947 and of budget bureau from 1947 to 1950.[2]

In 1952, Fukuda was elected to the House of Representatives representing the third district of Gunma. Fukuda's political mentor was Nobusuke Kishi, who was detained as a Class A war criminal after World War II and later became prime minister.

Fukuda was elected party secretary in 1957 and served as Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (1959–69), Minister of Finance (1969–71), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1971–73), and Director of the Economic Planning Agency (1974–76). He was a candidate for prime minister in 1972 but lost to Kakuei Tanaka.

Fukuda (second from left) during the G7 meeting in 1978

He took over the presidency of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from Takeo Miki after the party's poor showing in the 1976 election. It remained in office until 1978,[3] but relied on the support of minor parties to maintain a parliamentary majority. Although he was regarded as a conservative and a hawk on foreign policies, Fukuda drew international criticism when he caved in to the demands of a group of terrorists who hijacked Japan Airlines Flight 472, saying "Jinmei wa chikyû yori omoi (The value of a human life outweighs the Earth)."

In an effort to end the LDP's faction system, Fukuda introduced primary elections within the party. Ironically, in the first primary towards the end of 1978, he was beaten by Masayoshi Ōhira for the presidency of the LDP, and forced to resign as Prime Minister. Fukuda was later instrumental in the formation of the Inter Action Council. He retired from politics in 1990.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Fukuda was married and had five children: three sons and two daughters.[3] His eldest son, Yasuo Fukuda, after the sudden resignation of Shinzō Abe, became Prime Minister in September 2007, and remained in that office for one year, making him the first son of a Japanese prime minister to become a prime minister himself.[4] In addition, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi began his political career as a secretary to Fukuda, and the two were very close in their political and personal lives from the 1970s onward (Fukuda was the best man at Koizumi's wedding).

Death[edit]

Fukuda died of chronic emphysema in the hospital of Tokyo Women's Medical College on 5 July 1995 at the age of 90.[3]

Honours[edit]

From the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia

  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum (July 1995; posthumous)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "List of prime ministers". Kantei. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Sayle, Murray (8 July 1996). "Obituary: Takeo Fukuda". The Independent. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Pace, Eric (6 July 1995). "Takeo Fukuda, 90, Ex-Premier And Backer of China Pact, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Parry, Richard (21 September 2007). "The reluctant Prime Minister prepares to step up to the plate". The Times Online (News International Group). 
Political offices
Preceded by
Kiichi Aichi
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1971–1972
Succeeded by
Masayoshi Ōhira
Preceded by
Takeo Miki
Prime Minister of Japan
1976–1978
Deputy Prime Minister of Japan
1974–1976
Succeeded by
Masayoshi Ito