Yōichi Masuzoe

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Yōichi Masuzoe
舛添 要一
Masuzoe 210 Herman.jpg
Yōichi Masuzoe
Governor of Tokyo
Incumbent
Assumed office
9 February 2014
Preceded by Naoki Inose
Majority 2,112,979 (42.86%)
President of the New Renaissance Party
In office
23 April 2010 – 22 July 2013
Preceded by Hideo Watanabe
Succeeded by Hiroyuki Arai
Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare
In office
27 August 2007 – 16 September 2009
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Yasuo Fukuda
Taro Aso
Preceded by Hakuo Yanagisawa
Succeeded by Akira Nagatsuma
Member of the House of Councillors
In office
29 July 2001 – 28 July 2013
Constituency National
Majority 2001: 1,588,862 (1st)
2007: 467,735 (2nd)
Personal details
Born (1948-11-29) 29 November 1948 (age 65)[1]
Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan
Political party Independent
NRP (2010–2013)
LDP (2001–2010)
Spouse(s) Satsuki Katayama (second, 1986-1989)
Children 5 children
Residence Setagaya, Tokyo
Alma mater University of Tokyo, Graduate Institute of International Studies

Yōichi Masuzoe (舛添 要一 Masuzoe Yōichi?, born 29 November 1948) is a Japanese politician who served as a member of the House of Councillors and as Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare. He was elected Governor of Tokyo on 9 February 2014.[2] Prior to entering politics, he became well known in Japan as a television commentator on political issues.[3]

Early life[edit]

Masuzoe was born in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture on 29 November 1948. He graduated from Yahata High School in 1967 and entered the University of Tokyo, where he majored in the research of French political procedures.[4] He is conversationally fluent in English and French.[3]

He was an academic assistant at the University of Tokyo from 1971, and later spent several years in Europe as a research fellow at the University of Paris (1973–75) and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva (1976–78). He was then an assistant professor at the University of Tokyo from 1979 to 1989. After leaving the university in 1989, he established the Masuzoe Institute of Political Economy.[4] He became known as a frequent guest on political talk shows in Japan, particularly the popular "TV Tackle" program hosted by Takeshi Kitano.[5]

While continuing his writing and consulting on foreign affairs, Masuzoe relocated from Tokyo to Kitakyushu in the 1990s in order to take care of his aging mother, who began to show signs of deteriorating mental health. In 1998, he published a book entitled When I Put a Diaper on My Mother, which detailed his experience caring for his mother and the obstacles imposed by the Japanese welfare system. The book sold 100,000 copies, more than any of his previous political works, and propelled Masuzoe into the national spotlight as an authority on the aging society in Japan.[6]

Legislative career[edit]

Liberal Democratic Party[edit]

Masuzoe ran for Governor of Tokyo in the 1999 election, placing third among nineteen candidates (behind Shintaro Ishihara and Kunio Hatoyama).[7]

He won his first Diet seat in the Upper House in 2001 with the largest number of ballots in the national proportional representation section of the House of Councilors.[8] His main election promise was to tackle the Bank of Japan's misguided policies by reforming the Bank of Japan Law - an issue politicians had previously failed to address on the basis that this was too technical a topic to garner electoral support. However, in May 2001 the book 'Princes of the Yen' (Japanese 『円の支配者』) on the Bank of Japan, by Prof. Richard Werner, became a number one general bestseller, and Masuzoe agreed with its conclusion that in order to end the recession and avoid future banking disasters and credit-driven boom-bust cycles, the Bank of Japan Law had to change in order to make the central bank more accountable for its policies.[9] Masuzoe won with a landslide victory - presaging the same platform, policy recommendation and landslide victory enjoyed by Shinzo Abe in the election that was to make him prime minister in late 2012. After his victory in 2001, Masuzoe duly formed the LDP BoJ Law Reform Group and appointed Professor Werner as its advisor.[10] It included the members of the Lower House Yoshimi Watanabe and Kozo Yamamoto, among others.

In 2006, he was named deputy director general of an LDP committee charged with redrafting the Constitution of Japan. In this role, he argued that Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, which prohibits Japan from maintaining warmaking potential, was increasingly disjoined with the reality of Japan's defense arrangements, and should be revised in order to allow the Japan Self-Defense Forces to have the status of a military.[11]

In August 2007, Masuzoe was appointed as Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare. He served in this position until 2009 under three consecutive prime ministers (Shinzo Abe, Yasuo Fukuda and Taro Aso).[4] Abe reportedly appointed Masuzoe, a frequent critic of Abe's policies, in order to silence critics who would call him a factionalist.[5] Masuzoe came under fire during his tenure for an incident in which the government failed to match 50 million pension records with their owners, which led Democratic Party of Japan head Ichiro Ozawa to call for Masuzoe's censure if he did not apologize.[12]

As MHLW minister, Masuzoe was the first Japanese government official to set forth a timetable for the settlement of lawsuits against the state for hepatitis C infections caused by tainted blood transfusions, and started an internal investigation regarding the ministry's previous responses to the issue.[13] The plaintiffs rejected his settlement proposal in December 2007, which placed strain on the Fukuda government's approval ratings.[14]

Masuzoe set up a study group within the LDP in early 2010 to study economic reforms similar to those begun by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.[15]

New Renaissance Party[edit]

By early 2010, Masuzoe had become an extremely popular political figure, with opinion polls suggesting that he was the public's most favored prime ministerial candidate by a wide margin. In a Kyodo News poll in March 2010, 23.7% of respondents named him as the best candidate for prime minister, compared to only 8.3% who chose second-ranked incumbent prime minister Yukio Hatoyama.[16] The Liberal Democratic Party at the same time had incurred a massive general election defeat in August 2009, and its approval ratings continued to plummet following the election of Sadakazu Tanigaki as party president in September 2009.[17]

In April 2010, Masuzoe left the LDP and formed a splinter group called Shintō Kaikaku (New Renaissance Party). The party's platform included a call for decentralization, deregulation, and a halving of the number of Diet members. At the time, The Economist's Banyan column dubbed Masuzoe "Japan's most popular politician."[18] Both the NRP and Your Party, led by ex-LDP lawmaker Yoshimi Watanabe, were viewed at the time as potentially effective center-right counterweights to the Democratic Party of Japan, and possibly even successors to the LDP itself.[17] Masuzoe's party nonetheless gained minimal traction. Four of its initial six Upper House members were voted out in the July 2010 election, leaving the party with only Masuzoe and Hiroyuki Arai representing it in the Upper House; the NRP was ultimately overshadowed by Your Party as a reformist element.[19]

LDP secretary-general Nobuteru Ishihara indicated in October 2010 that Masuzoe would run as a candidate in the 2011 Tokyo gubernatorial election, which Masuzoe emphatically denied, stating that he would serve out the remainder of his term in the House of Councillors.[20] In December 2010, he met with Ichiro Ozawa, Yukio Hatoyama and Kunio Hatoyama, reportedly to discuss a potential political realignment within the ruling Democratic Party of Japan following the resignation of Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku.[21] He continued to be critical of the DPJ administration under Naoto Kan in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, saying that "the government has failed to disclose information thoroughly and, secondly, it has created a confusing array of committees and organizations."[22]

Masuzoe made efforts in foreign relations as head of the NRP. He met with Chinese state councilor Dai Bingguo in March 2011 following the resignation of Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara to reassure the Chinese government about Japan's stability.[23] He traveled to Taiwan in October 2011 as part of a trilateral security dialogue between Taiwan, Japan and the United States,[24] and met with Tang Jiaxuan in Beijing in April 2013 as part of an effort to improve strained Sino-Japanese relations following the nationalization of the Senkaku Islands.[25]

Mazuzoe was reportedly considered for a cabinet position under Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in January 2012, but was passed over. On 18 January, he dissolved his alliance with the Sunrise Party of Japan led by Takeo Hiranuma. Later that month, the Asahi Shimbun proclaimed that he had "dropped off the political radar."[19]

In a September 2012 column, he was critical of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's "succession of failures on both the domestic and foreign policy fronts," and was also critical of incoming LDP president Shinzo Abe, writing: "Wariness of Abe on the Korean and Chinese sides would make an improvement in relations increasingly difficult. If he shows an excessively right-wing bent when dealing with reform to the Constitution, he will no longer be able to garner support from the majority of the Japanese people."[26] He held out hope that dissatisfaction with the DPJ and LDP would boost third parties in the 2012 general election, writing that "the dysfunction within the DPJ, and the lack of any impetus for internal reform in the LDP, is forcing the electorate to seriously consider supporting political forces outside the traditional two-party structure."[27]

During the 2012 election race, he expressed opposition to the consumption tax increase implemented by the DPJ, and argued in favor of deregulation and reducing corporate taxes, as well as implementation of a dōshūsei federal system.[28] He openly considered leaving the House of Councillors to run for governor of Tokyo in the 2012 gubernatorial election at the behest of DPJ legislators in the metropolitan assembly, and also considered running for the House of Representatives in the general election.[29]

Following the resounding victory of Abe and the LDP in the general election, Masuzoe announced in June 2013 that he would not stand for re-election in the July 2013 House of Councillors election, stating that "I have done the best I could for nearly three years, but I was unable to boost [the party's] strength."[30]

Governor of Tokyo[edit]

Masuzoe was considered by both the Liberal Democratic Party and Democratic Party of Japan as a potential candidate for the 2014 gubernatorial election in Tokyo.[31] In a December 2013 LDP poll, he reportedly had the strongest support among a broad field of potential candidates.[32] The party was divided with regard to candidate selection, with local LDP lawmakers seeking an experienced candidate and the central party leadership seeking a candidate with name recognition; Masuzoe was viewed as a compromise between these two requirements, even though he was no longer a member of the LDP.[33]

Masuzoe ultimately decided to run as an independent with LDP support, as part of which he would resign from the New Renaissance Party and enter into a policy pact with the LDP. His platform focused on successfully holding the 2020 Summer Olympics and enhancing social security and disaster prevention measures. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga of the LDP stated that Masuzoe "made a great contribution as a state minister to the management of health, welfare and labor issues," while Jin Matsubara of the DPJ stated that Masuzoe was "the right candidate to receive our support."[34] Masuzoe attended a meeting of the Tokyo LDP in January 2014 and apologized for leaving the party in a bid to win their support.[35]

Masuzoe led opinion polls through the final week of the campaign. His most prominent opponent, former opposition Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa, had the backing of the popular former LDP prime minister Junichiro Koizumi. In a rare display of humor, Masuzoe dismissed a question as to whether the "tag team" of ex-prime ministers was intimidating, saying "I wouldn't care if they had a hundred prime ministers!"[36] Hosokawa, as well as rival Kenji Utsunomiya, both made opposition to nuclear power a key issue in their campaigns, while Masuzoe, who supported a gradual phase-out of nuclear power, focused on social welfare issues. He ultimately won the election amid low voter turnout following a blizzard in Tokyo the previous day.[37]

Views[edit]

In a 1996 Shokun article cited by former SDP leader Mizuho Fukushima, Masuzoe argued that nuclear power is a fundamental component of national energy and defense policy and should not be influenced by local concerns: he asked "if 30,000 local residents can reject a national policy in a referendum, where and how are the other 125 million Japanese citizens supposed to manifest their own intentions?"[38]

Fukushima also cited a 1989 article in which Masuzoe argued that women are "not fundamentally suited for politics;" that women lack the ability to compile parts into a logical whole, thus leading to single-issue politics; that women lack the physical strength to work 24 hours a day and make major decisions; and that their menstrual cycle leads them to be "abnormal" on a monthly basis and unsuitable for making major policy decisions such as whether to go to war.[39]

Masuzoe, while Governor of Tokyo, is reported as having joined in general laughter in response to several taunts by male members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly aimed at the female representative Ayaka Shiomura during a session of the Assembly on June 18, 2014. Shiomura was calling for more government assistance for women seeking to have children when she was met with heckles such as “You are the one who must get married as soon as possible” and “Can’t you even bear a child?” [40][41]

Personal life[edit]

Masuzoe has married three times. His first marriage was to a Frenchwoman whom he met while studying in Europe and subsequently divorced. He then married Ministry of Finance bureaucrat Satsuki Katayama in 1986; they were divorced in 1989 and Katayama herself later became a member of the Diet. Masuzoe is known to have five children, three of which were born out of wedlock by two other women;[42] one of his children, aged 25 as of 2014, is seriously disabled, and Masuzoe's negotiations with the child's mother over support payments drew attention in the Japanese tabloid press.[43] Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that he wanted Katayama more than anyone else to stand in support of Masuzoe's 2014 gubernatorial bid, but Katayama responded that it was difficult for her to do so given the state of the negotiations.[44] The magazine Nikkan Gendai reported in 2007 that Masuzoe held a wedding ceremony with another Japanese woman in France (but was not legally married to her) prior to marrying his first wife.[45]

Masuzoe is reportedly a fan of horse racing, and owned several racehorses before entering politics. Two of his horses won the Tokyo Derby in 1997 and 1998 respectively.[43] He also enjoys golf and skiing, and has a black belt in judo.[3]

He lives in Setagaya, Tokyo and has vacation homes in Yugawara and Lake Kawaguchi.[43]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Masuzoe Yōichi: Tokyo’s Next Governor". nippon.com. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Masuzoe projected to be next Tokyo governor". NHK World. 9 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "ASO ELECTED PM; CABINET PICKS AIMED AT SOLIDIFYING LEADERSHIP". US Department of State. Retrieved 25 December 2013. "His book on welfare issues, his political commentary, and frequent television appearances have given him wide name recognition. Masuzoe is married without children. His second wife, Satsuki Katayama, is a first-term member of the LDP Lower House representing Shizuoka seventh district. Masuzoe's hobbies include horseback riding, golf, and skiing; he has a black belt in judo. He speaks excellent English and French, having been a visiting fellow at the University of Paris and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, and was an engaging interlocutor during the May 2008 G8 Labor and Employment Ministers' Meeting." 
  4. ^ a b c "プロフィール". Masuzoe Yoichi Official Site. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Yoichi Masuzoe set for the Cabinet?". Japan News Review. 27 August 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  6. ^ Crowell, Todd (24 July 1998). "A Son's Solution: How one man showed his love". AsiaWeek. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "平成11年都知事選挙 開票結果". Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "Cabinet Profiles: Yoichi Masuzoe". Japan Times. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  9. ^ The English edition of the book (Richard A. Werner (2003), Princes of the Yen, Armonk: M. E. Sharpe) carries Masuzoe's endorsement.
  10. ^ See the joint interview with Masuzoe and Werner in the May 2002 issue (pages 9-16)of the monthly magazine CHICHI, url=http://www.chichi.co.jp/
  11. ^ Yamauchi, Toshihiro (26 June 2006). "The Constitutional Amendment Arguments made by Mr.Masuzoe of Liberal Democratic Party of Japan's New Constitutional Amendment Drafting Committee and its Issues.". Japan Institute of Constitutional Law. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Sekiguchi, Toko (1 April 2008). "Ozawa Says DPJ Won't Rule Out Censure Against Health Minister". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  13. ^ "Gov't keen on settlement with hepatitis C patients by year-end". Kyodo. 24 October 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "Hepatitis patients reject govt aid plan". China Daily. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Jackson, Paul (24 April 2010). "Man Who Cried Wolf? Yoichi Masuzoe’s newly-launched party gets off to an unpromising start". The Diplomat. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "参院は「民主過半数望まず」58% 共同通信世論調査 内閣支持率、36%に下落". 日本経済新聞. 7 March 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2014. " 「いま首相に最もふさわしい政治家」を聞いたところ、自民党の舛添要一前厚生労働相が23.7%と断トツで以下、鳩山首相8.3%、菅直人副総理7.4%、岡田克也外相7.2%、石破茂自民党政調会長5.4%の順。谷垣禎一自民党総裁は2.3%、小沢氏は1.4%にとどまった。" 
  17. ^ a b Harris, Tobias (22 April 2010). "Japan's LDP Loses Its Way". Newsweek. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  18. ^ "LDP, RIP: Japan's most popular politician quits Japan's Liberal Democratic Party". The Economist. 23 April 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  19. ^ a b "Former welfare minister Yoichi Masuzoe out of political spotlight". 30 January 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "舛添氏「本当に迷惑」 都知事選巡る自民幹事長発言に". 日本経済新聞. 23 October 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  21. ^ "小沢・鳩山・邦夫・舛添氏が会合 政界再編へ臆測も 「仙谷氏辞任を」小沢系が攻勢". 日本経済新聞. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  22. ^ Masuzoe, Yoichi (18 May 2011). "The Kan Administration Reveals Its Incompetence". Japan Echo. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  23. ^ "舛添氏、中国国務委員と会談 日中関係改善努力で合意". 日本経済新聞. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  24. ^ "Taiwan-US-Japan security dialogue held in Taipei". Taiwan Today. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  25. ^ Zhang, Yunbi (2 April 2013). "Diplomats call for better China-Japan ties". China Daily. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  26. ^ Masuzoe, Yoichi (25 October 2012). "An Uncertain Year Ahead Following the Leadership Elections". Nippon.com. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  27. ^ Masuzoe, Yoichi (9 October 2012). "Gearing Up for the General Election". Nippon.com. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  28. ^ "改革 舛添代表 規制緩和で活性化 党首討論の要旨". 日本経済新聞. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  29. ^ "民主、舛添氏に都知事選出馬打診 前向き検討か". 日本経済新聞. 10 November 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  30. ^ "New Renaissance Party head Masuzoe won’t seek re-election". Kyodo News. 8 June 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  31. ^ "自民、民主で舛添氏奪い合う". 日刊スポーツ. 21 December 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2013. 
  32. ^ "東国原氏、舛添氏が人気 自民調査". 日刊スポーツ. 25 December 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2013. "23日まで有権者の意向を探る世論調査を行った結果、国会議員に対する支持は低く、党内に擁立論がある舛添要一元厚労相(65)や、党が出馬を警戒する東国原英夫前衆院議員(56)が、一定の支持を集めたことが分かった。" 
  33. ^ "都知事選「勝てる候補」は? 自民、7氏選び世論調査". 日本経済新聞. 21 December 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  34. ^ "Ex-health minister Masuzoe mulls running in Tokyo gubernatorial race". Mainichi Shimbun. 8 January 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  35. ^ "舛添氏、自民離党を陳謝 都連会合に出席". 日本経済新聞. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  36. ^ "都知事選候補の"仰天発言"相次ぐ シロクマ大量死、AKB…". ZAKZAK. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014. "情勢調査でリードする舛添氏は、選挙後を考えてか慎重な発言が多い。ただ、東京・有楽町の日本外国特派員協会で1月31日に記者会見した際、細川氏と小泉純一郎元首相との“元首相タッグ”を「恐れているか?」と聞かれて、「100人の元首相がいても問題ない!」と言い切り、海外メディアを笑わせた。" 
  37. ^ Ozawa, Harumi (10 February 2014). "Masuzoe says he wants to make Tokyo No. 1 city in world". AFP. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  38. ^ Fukushima, Mizuho (31 January 2013). "舛添要一さんの発言について". Blogos. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  39. ^ Fukushima, Mizuho (31 January 2014). "舛添要一さんの発言について". Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  40. ^ "Tokyo metropolitan assembly flooded with protests over sexist jeering". 19 June 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  41. ^ "都議会ヤジ>笑った指摘に舛添知事「塩村氏の笑いに笑み」". 20 June 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014. 
  42. ^ "舛添要一氏 「月収8万円だから」と婚外子への扶助減額要求". 週刊ポスト. 2 December 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  43. ^ a b c "都知事選「本命」舛添氏 高支持率も最大のネックはカネ". 日刊ゲンダイ. 6 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  44. ^ "片山氏、舛添氏支持依頼に難色 「婚外子への慰謝料扶養が不十分」". MSN Sankei News. 19 January 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  45. ^ "舛添厚労相 ~実は4度の結婚、2人の愛人、5人の子供~". 日刊ゲンダイ. 8 September 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Naoki Inose
Governor of Tokyo
2014–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Hakuo Yanagisawa
Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan
2007–2009
Succeeded by
Akira Nagatsuma