Yuriko Koike

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Yuriko Koike
小池 百合子
Yuriko Koike - World Economic Forum on the Middle East 2008.jpg
Minister of Defense
In office
July 4, 2007 – August 27, 2007
Prime Minister Shinzō Abe
Preceded by Fumio Kyuma
Succeeded by Masahiko Kōmura
1st Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for National Security Issues
In office
September 26, 2006 – July 4, 2007
Preceded by New post
Succeeded by None
6th Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs
In office
September 27, 2004 – September 26, 2006
Preceded by Toshimitsu Motegi
Succeeded by Sanae Takaichi
4th Minister of the Environment (Japan)
In office
September 22, 2003 – September 26, 2006
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
Preceded by Shunichi Suzuki
Succeeded by Masatoshi Wakabayashi
Member of the House of Representatives for Tokyo's 10th district
Assumed office
September 11, 2006
Preceded by Koki Kobayashi
Majority 109,764 (50.05%)
Personal details
Born (1952-07-15) July 15, 1952 (age 62)
Ashiya, Hyōgo, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Political party Liberal Democratic Party (2003–present)
New Conservative Party (2000–2003)
Liberal Party (1997–2000)
New Frontier Party (1994–1997)
Japan New Party (1992–1994)
Spouse(s) Divorced
Children None
Residence Toshima, Tokyo, Japan
Alma mater Cairo University
American University in Cairo †
Kwansei Gakuin University ‡
Profession News anchor, interpreter
Website http://www.yuriko.or.jp/
†Attended. ‡Withdrawal.

Yuriko Koike (小池 百合子 Koike Yuriko?, born July 15, 1952) is a Japanese politician, who was the Minister of Defense in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but resigned August 27, 2007 after only 54 days in office.[1] She is a member of the House of Representatives of Japan for Tokyo's 10th district.

Early life and education[edit]

Born and raised in Ashiya, Hyogo, a wealthy Kobe suburb, Koike went to Kōnan Girls' Junior and Senior High School for her secondary education.

Her father, Yūjirō Koike, was a foreign trade merchant who handled oil products. He was also involved in politics, supporting Shintarō Ishihara and the Tatenokai in 1960s, and ran for a national election to no avail in 1969.[2] He occasionally told Yuriko his opinion that it was essential for Japan to strengthen relations with Arab countries in order to ensure a stable petroleum supply lest the resource-poor Japan be thrust into war for oil again. His word encouraged her to decide to study in Egypt to master Arabic.[2][3]

After attending the School of Sociology at Kwansei Gakuin University in 1971 and the American University in Cairo in 1972, Koike received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Cairo University in 1976. She married a Japanese student in Egypt when she was 21 years old, but divorced soon after.[4][5]

Career in media[edit]

Koike anchored TV Tokyo's World Business Satellite, the nation-wide TV business news program from 1988 to 1992, after co-hosting Kenichi Takemura's Storytelling on Social Aspects (世相講談 Sesō kōdan?) of NTV from 1979 to 1985.

Career in politics[edit]

Koike, dubbed "Japan's Condi Rice",[6] shakes hands with Condoleezza Rice in August 2007.

Koike currently belongs to the Liberal Democratic Party after she belonged to the Japan New Party, New Frontier Party, Liberal Party, and New Conservative Party. She has also served one term in the House of Councillors.

Koike is one of the five Vice Secretaries General of the Diet Members' Committee of Japan Conference (日本会議 Nippon Kaigi?), the country's largest conservative think tank and the main revisionist lobby, once chaired by Taro Aso.

A past participant in the World Economic Forum, Koike has been considered a prime candidate to become Japan's first female prime minister. Koike is a long-time participant in the U.S.-Japan Legislative Exchange Program hosted by George Washington University and run by Professor Henry Nau.

She previously served as the Minister of the Environment and Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs in the Cabinet of Jun'ichirō Koizumi, Abe's predecessor. She has been responsible for starting the Cool Biz campaign in Japanese political circles.

Originally representing Hyōgo Prefecture, Koike became one of Koizumi's "assassins" in the 2005 Lower House election, and was critical of LDP members who were defiant of Koizumi's leadership. Her most recent position before becoming Minister of Defense was Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for National Security Issues in the Abe Cabinet.

Koike announced on August 24, 2007 that she intended to resign from the post, citing the Aegis classified information leak scandal as a reason.[1] Koike later hinted that the much publicized fight she had had with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki over a vice-minister replacement was the real reason, as the opposition would use that to oppose a bill on Japan's terrorism laws.[7]

Following the resignation of Tokyo governor Naoki Inose on December 19, 2013, she was widely rumored to be a potential candidate for the gubernatorial election expected to be held in February 2014, along with Hideo Higashikokubaru, Hakubun Shimomura, Seiko Hashimoto and Yoichi Masuzoe.[8]

2008 LDP leadership election[edit]

On September 8, 2008, Koike launched her bid to become President of the LDP and became the first woman ever to seek the premiership in Japan's history: "I have received the enthusiastic support of my colleagues. In order to break through the deadlock facing Japanese society, I believe the country might as well have a female candidate. Hillary used the word 'glass ceiling' ... but in Japan, it isn't glass, it's an iron plate. I'm not Mrs Thatcher, but what is needed is a strategy that advances a cause with conviction, clear policies and sympathy with the people."[9]

In the leadership election, held on September 22, Tarō Asō won with 351 of the 527 votes; Koike placed third with 46 votes.[10]

Political positions[edit]

Koike supports for economic liberalism, promotes administrative and budgetary reform, and insists on further advancement of the status of women in the working world. Her motto is "Check, Challenge, Change, Creative and Communication."[11]

Having learned ecological lifestyle from her own experience of wartime austerities in Egypt,[3] Koike actively addresses environmental issues. She received the Japan Jewelry Best Dresser Award for her success in the Cool Biz and Warm Biz campaign. She expressed the idea of introducing carbon tax in 2005 so that Japan might achieve the goals of the Kyoto Protocol,[12] but her idea has not been realized yet. In 2006, she started the "Mottainai Furoshiki" campaign, which urges shoppers to use furoshiki in place of plastic shopping bags.[13] She is against the use of biofuels made from food crops.[14] Her hope is that Japan will be a society where citizens and companies can make profits by contributing to the protection of the environment, for example through emissions trading.[15]

As a conservative nationalist, Koike belongs to the Diet members' league to support the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.[16][17] She is also a member of the Diet members' group to promote Yasukuni Shrine visits, led by Yoshinobu Shimamura, and goes to worship the war dead at the shrine on War-End Day, August 15, almost every year.[17] Not being able to visit it due to an official trip to Okinawa, she sent her proxy to worship at the shrine in 2007.[18][19] She insists on developing an environment to encourage the emperor to visit Yasukuni.[20]

Her foreign and security policies are often regarded as hawkish.[6][17][21] She suggested that the prime minister revise the interpretation of Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan to enable the government to exercise the right to collective self-defense.[17][22] She supports the United States' policy in the War on Terror and opposes the Japanese government's tradition of UN-centered foreign policy.[23] During the 2008 LDP leadership election, she pledged to make Russia return the four disputed islands to Japan if she was elected as prime minister.[24]


  • 1977 – Interpreter and Translator of Arabic, Secretary General of the Japan-Arab Association.
  • 1978 – Interviewer and Coordinator for the Nippon TV Special "Colonel Qaddafi and Yasser Arafat"
  • 1979 – News presenter for Nippon TV's Daily Program "Current Issues"
  • 1988–1989 – News presenter for TV Tokyo's Financial and Business Programs "World Business Satellite" and "Top Business Executives"
  • 1990 – Secretary General of the Japan-Arab Association.
  • 1992 – Elected to the House of Councillors from the Japan New Party.
  • 1993 – Elected to the House of Representatives from Hyōgo Prefecture's Second District, Vice-Minister of the Management and Coordination Agency.
  • 1994 – Vice-President of the Japan New Party, founding member of the New Frontier Party.
  • 1995 – Assistant to the Secretary General of the New Frontier Party.
  • 1996 – Director of the Public Relations Bureau of the New Frontier Party, re-elected to the House of Representatives from Hyōgo Prefecture's Sixth District.
  • 1997 – Chair of the Standing Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives
  • 1998 – Founding Member of the Liberal Party, member of the Standing Committee on Trade and Industry of the House of Representatives, Director of the Standing Committee on Finance of the House of Representatives.
  • 1999 – Member of the Committee on Public Relations of the Liberal Party, State Secretary for the Economic Planning Chair of the Liberal Party.
  • 2000 – Member of the Standing Committee on Finance and the Standing Committee on Health and Welfare of the House of Representatives, Vice-Chair of the New Conservative Party Policy Planning Committee, and re-elected to the House of Representatives from Hyōgo Prefecture's Sixth District.
  • 2003 – Minister of the Environment, Minister in Charge of Global Environmental Problems (Second Koizumi Cabinet), re-elected to the House of Representatives, Minister of the Environment and Minister in Charge of Global Environmental Problems (Second Reshuffled First Koizumi Cabinet), and member of the Committee on Economy, Trade and Industry and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives.
  • 2004 – Minister of the Environment, Minister in Charge of Global Environmental Problems, and Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs (Reshuffled Second Koizumi Cabinet).
  • 2005 – Minister of the Environment, Minister in Charge of Global Environmental Problems, and Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs (Third Koizumi Cabinet and reshuffled Third Koizumi Cabinet). Re-elected to the House of Representatives.
  • 2006 – Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for National Security Affairs (First Abe Cabinet).
  • 2007 – Minister of Defense (First Abe Cabinet). Left office after only 54 days in office.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Koike decides to leave post, cites responsibility over information leak – Japan News Review
  2. ^ a b "Oyaji no Senaka", Asahi Shimbun Morning Edition, August 24, 2008
  3. ^ a b "Kikase te Anata no Mottainai", Shūkan Josei, Shufu-to-Seikatsusha, September 12, 2006
  4. ^ Masaharu Fujiyoshi, "Koike Yuriko Kenkyū", Shūkan Bunshun, Bungeishunjū, October 20, 2005
  5. ^ "Koike Yuriko Fūin no Nijūissai", Flash, vol. 1020, Kobunsha, September 2008
  6. ^ a b "'Japan's Condi Rice' known for courting controversy", The Japan Times, July 5, 2007
  7. ^ Resigning Koike criticizes opposition – Japan News Review
  8. ^ "猪瀬知事が辞職表明 「都政を停滞させられない」". 日本経済新聞. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 自民党の石破茂幹事長は19日午前、東京都連幹部と協議し、年内の候補者決定を目指す方針を確認した。党内では小池百合子元防衛相や下村博文文部科学相、橋本聖子参院議員らの名前が取り沙汰されている。7月の参院選への出馬を見送った元新党改革代表の舛添要一氏、日本維新の会を離党して衆院議員を辞職した東国原英夫氏らの名前も浮上している。 
  9. ^ reuters.com, Japan PM contender sees "iron" barrier for women
  10. ^ "Aso elected LDP head", The Yomiuri Shimbun, September 22, 2008.
  11. ^ "Koike Yuriko Kihon Rinen", Koike Yuriko Official Website (in Japanese)
  12. ^ "Koike pledges to push carbon tax to meet goals under Kyoto Protocol", The Japan Times, November 6, 2005
  13. ^ "Minister Koike created the 'Mottainai Furoshiki'", Ministry of the Environment
  14. ^ Mainichi Shimbun Morning Edition, March 11, 2008
  15. ^ Diamond Zai, p. 80, Diamond, September 2007
  16. ^ "Uha no Sokkin de Katamerareta Abe Seiken", The Chosun Ilbo, September 27, 2006 (in Japanese)
  17. ^ a b c d "'Yasukuni Shikan' Kataru Menmen", Akahata, October 6, 2006 (in Japanese)
  18. ^ "Koike Daijin Kaiken Gaiyō", August 7, 2007 (in Japanese)
  19. ^ "Yasukuni Sampaisha List 2007", Shūkan Kin'yōbi (in Japanese)
  20. ^ "Sōsaisen Yasukuni demo Zessen", Sankei Shimbun, September 15, 2008 (in Japanese)
  21. ^ "Chūgokushi 'Koike Shin Bōeishō wa Takaha no Seijika'", Nippon News Network, July 4, 2007 (in Japanese)
  22. ^ "Nippon ga Dekiru Keizai Seisai", Voice, April 2003
  23. ^ "Ozawa Ichirō to Koizumi Junichirō o Kiru", Bungeishunjū, Bungeishunjū, January 2008 (in Japanese)
  24. ^ "Dōshūsei Dōnyū ni Iyoku", Chugoku Shimbun, September 15, 2008 (in Japanese)

External links[edit]

House of Representatives of Japan
Preceded by
Representative from Hyōgo 2nd district (multi-member)
Succeeded by
District eliminated
New district Representative for Hyōgo 6th district
Succeeded by
Kōichirō Ichimura
Preceded by
Representative for the Kinki proportional representation block
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Kōki Kobayashi
Representative for Tokyo 10th district
Succeeded by
Takako Ebata
Preceded by
Representative for the Tokyo proportional representation block
Political offices
Preceded by
Shunichi Suzuki
Minister of the Environment
Succeeded by
Masatoshi Wakabayashi
Preceded by
Toshimitsu Motegi
Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs
Succeeded by
Sanae Takaichi
Preceded by
New post
Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for National Security Issues
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Fumio Kyuma
Minister of Defense
July–August 2007
Succeeded by
Masahiko Komura