Masayoshi Ōhira

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Masayoshi Ōhira
大平 正芳
Masayoshi Ohira 19781207.jpg
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
7 December 1978 – 12 June 1980
MonarchShōwa
Preceded byTakeo Fukuda
Succeeded byMasayoshi Itō
Minister of Finance
In office
16 July 1974 – 24 December 1976
Prime MinisterKakuei Tanaka
Takeo Miki
Preceded byTakeo Fukuda
Succeeded byHideo Bo
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
7 July 1972 – 16 July 1974
Prime MinisterKakuei Tanaka
Preceded byTakeo Fukuda
Succeeded byToshio Kimura
Minister of International Trade and Industry
In office
30 November 1968 – 14 January 1970
Prime MinisterEisaku Satō
Preceded byEtsusaburo Shiina
Succeeded byKiichi Miyazawa
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
18 July 1962 – 18 July 1964
Prime MinisterHayato Ikeda
Preceded byZentaro Kosaka
Succeeded byEtsusaburo Shiina
Chief Cabinet Secretary
In office
19 July 1960 – 18 July 1962
Prime MinisterHayato Ikeda
Preceded byEtsusaburo Shiina
Succeeded byYasumi Kurogane
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
1 October 1952 – 12 June 1980
Personal details
Born(1910-03-12)12 March 1910[1]
Kan'onji, Japan
Died12 June 1980(1980-06-12) (aged 70)
Minato, Japan
Political partyLiberal Democratic
Spouse(s)Shigeko (1916–1990)
Children4
Alma materHitotsubashi University
Signature

Masayoshi Ōhira (大平 正芳, Ōhira Masayoshi, 12 March 1910 – 12 June 1980) was a Japanese politician who was Prime Minister of Japan from 1978 to 1980. Ōhira's time in office was cut short when he died in office; he remains the most recent Japanese Prime Minister to die in office.[a]

Early life[edit]

Masayoshi Ōhira was born the third son of a farmer in Wada Village (now located in the present-day town of Kan'onji) in Kagawa prefecture on the island of Shikoku. In 1926, when he was 16 years old, Ōhira contracted typhoid fever and nearly died. This near death experience contributed to his conversion to Christianity around that time.

In 1933, when he was 23, Ōhira won two scholarships and was able to belatedly attend university at the Tokyo University of Commerce (present-day Hitotsubashi University), where he studied economics. In 1936, he entered the Ministry of Finance where he became a protégé of Hayato Ikeda.

Ōhira worked in the Ministry of Finance throughout World War II. In the postwar period, when Ikeda became Minister of Finance from 1949 to 1952, Ōhira served as his private secretary.

Early Political career[edit]

In 1952, at Ikeda's urging, Ōhira ran for and won the first of 10 terms in the House of Representatives of the Japanese National Diet, first representing the Liberal Party, and later its successor party the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

In 1957, as Ikeda prepared a push to try to become prime minister, Ōhira became a founding member of Ikeda's "Kōchikai" think tank, and was widely viewed as Ikeda's "right-hand man."[2] He helped Ikeda write speeches and election manifestos.[2]

Ikeda became prime minister in 1960, when Nobusuke Kishi resigned following the disastrous 1960 Anpo Protests. As a trained economist and trusted member of Ikeda's "brain trust," Ōhira helped design and implement Ikeda's famed Income Doubling Plan, which helped turn the attention of the Japanese people away from contentious political struggles to a nationwide drive for economic growth.[3]

From 1962–1964, Ōhira served as Ikeda's Foreign Minister. In this role, he conducted the delicate negotiations which paved the way for Japan's normalization of relations with South Korea in 1965. When Ikeda died in 1964, Ōhira inherited control of his faction.

LDP power broker and prime minister[edit]

with Keith Holyoake (October 1972)
Masayoshi Ōhira (at Andrews Air Force Base in 1980)

At the apex of his political life, Ōhira came to represent what were known as the "mainstream factions" within the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which put him at odds with Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, who led what were known as the "anti-mainstream" factions.[4] From 1968 to 1970, Ōhira served as Minister of International Trade and Industry under Ikeda's successor Eisaku Satō. In 1972, Ōhira unsuccessfully competed for the party leadership before throwing his support to ultimate winner Kakuei Tanaka. Ōhira was then rewarded for his support with a post as Tanaka's first Foreign Minister, which he held until mid-July 1974.[5] In a cabinet reshuffle in July 1974, he was replaced by Toshio Kimura as Foreign Minister but then immediately appointed Finance Minister, replacing Takeo Fukuda.[5]

Ōhira was elected to the presidency of the LDP in late 1978. On 7 December 1978, he was appointed 68th Prime Minister, successfully pushing longtime rival Takeo Fukuda from his position.[6]

Ōhira was the sixth Christian to hold this office after Hara Takashi, Takahashi Korekiyo, Ichirō Hatoyama, Tetsu Katayama, and Shigeru Yoshida.

In the general election of 1979, the LDP narrowly failed to win an outright majority, but enough independent members of the Diet joined the party to enable Ōhira to remain in office, and he was duly reappointed on 9 November of that year. On 16 May 1980, a vote of no confidence was held in the Diet.

Ōhira expected the motion to fail, and was visibly shaken when it passed 243–187. 69 members of his own LDP, including Fukuda, abstained. Given the choice of resigning or calling new elections, Ōhira chose the latter and began campaigning for LDP candidates. He was hospitalized for exhaustion on 31 May and died of a massive heart attack 12 days later.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Masayoshi Ito acted in Ōhira's place as deputy after his death. Yoshio Sakurauchi, the Secretary General of LDP, led the LDP to its greatest victory in fifteen years, capitalizing on the "sympathy vote" generated by Ōhira's death. Zenkō Suzuki became Ōhira's successor as prime minister following the election.

Personal life[edit]

Religion[edit]

Ōhira converted to Christianity during his time at the Takamatsu Higher School of Commerce (now the Takamatsu College of Economics), though without becoming a member of any formal Christian organization.[7][8] However, others have stated that he was a member of the Anglican Church during the 1970s.[9]

Honours[edit]

Foreign honours[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Keizō Obuchi, who suffered a stroke while in office, was removed from office on 5 April 2000 after suddenly falling into a coma, a month before his death in May 2000.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Man in the News". The New York Times. 1 September 1972. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b Kapur, Nick (2018). Japan at the Crossroads: Conflict and Compromise after Anpo. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 48. ISBN 9780674988484.
  3. ^ Kapur, Nick (2018). Japan at the Crossroads: Conflict and Compromise after Anpo. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. pp. 76, 100–101. ISBN 9780674988484.
  4. ^ Nihon Kōgyō Shinbunsha. (1979). Business Japan. Vol. 24, Nos. 10–12, p. 47.
  5. ^ a b "Tanaka reshuffles Japanese cabinet". Daytona Beach Morning. Tokyo. AP. 17 July 1974. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  6. ^ Brown, James Robert. (1999). The ministry of finance, p. 199.
  7. ^ Choy, Lee Khoon (1995). Japan — Between Myth and Reality. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. p. 109. ISBN 981-02-1865-6. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  8. ^ Rothacher, Albrecht (1993). The Japanese Power Elite. Macmillan Press Ltd. p. 87. ISBN 978-1-349-22995-6. Retrieved 15 July 2019. Ohira as a University student later joined the 'no-church movement' and has treated his religious convictions as a private matter ever since.
  9. ^ Ikehara, Mariko (2011). Doak, Kevin M. (ed.). Xavier's Legacies: Catholicism in Modern Japanese Culture. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-7748-2022-6. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  10. ^ From the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia
  11. ^ http://reinanzaka-sc.o.oo7.jp/kiroku/documents/20140523-3-kiji-list.pdf
  12. ^ "Semakan Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat".

Bibliography[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Chief Cabinet Secretary
1960–1962
Succeeded by
Yasumi Kurogane
Preceded by
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1962–1964
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Minister of International Trade and Industry
1968–1970
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1972–1974
Succeeded by
Minister of Finance
1974–1976
Succeeded by
Prime Minister of Japan
1978–1980
Succeeded by
House of Representatives of Japan
Preceded by
Soichi Usui
Chair, Committee on Education of the House of Representatives of Japan
1959–1960
Succeeded by
Soichi Usui
Interim
Party political offices
Preceded by
Naomi Nishimura
Chair, Policy Research Committee of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan
1967–1968
Succeeded by
Ryutaro Nemoto
Preceded by
Shigesaburo Maeo
Head of Kōchikai faction
1971–1980
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Tsuneo Uchida
Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan
1976–1978
Succeeded by
Kunikichi Saito
Preceded by
President of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan
1978–1980
Succeeded by
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Chairperson of the G7
1979
Succeeded by