Renhō

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Renhō
蓮舫
Renho 1-3.jpg
Member of the House of Councillors
Assumed office
11 July 2004
Constituency Tokyo
Minister of State for Government Revitalization
In office
8 June 2010 – 27 June 2011
Prime Minister Naoto Kan
Preceded by Yukio Edano
Succeeded by Yukio Edano
Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety
In office
14 January 2011 – 27 June 2011
Prime Minister Naoto Kan
Preceded by Tomiko Okazaki
Succeeded by Goshi Hosono
Minister of State for Government Revitalization
In office
2 September 2011 – 13 January 2012
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda
Preceded by Yukio Edano
Succeeded by Katsuya Okada
Personal details
Born Hsieh Lien-fang (謝蓮舫)
(1967-11-28) 28 November 1967 (age 48)
Tokyo, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Political party Democratic Party (Japan)
Democratic Party of Japan
Spouse(s) Nobuyuki Murata
Children Suiran and Rin (Twins)
Alma mater Aoyama Gakuin University
Website Renhō's homepage

Renhō Murata (村田 蓮舫 Murata Renhō?, born 28 November 1967), commonly known mononymously as Renhō (蓮舫 Renhō), is a Taiwanese Japanese journalist and politician who is a member of the Upper House of the Diet of Japan. She was a member of the Cabinet of Japan from 2010 to 2012, serving as Minister for Government Revitalisation and Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety.

Early and personal life[edit]

Born Hsieh Lien-fang (traditional Chinese: 謝蓮舫; ; pinyin: Xiè Liánfǎng; Japanese pronunciation: Sha Renhō) in Tokyo to a Taiwanese father and Japanese mother, she studied at Aoyama Gakuin in Tokyo from kindergarten through university. She enrolled in the law faculty of Aoyama Gakuin University and graduated in 1990 with the B.L. degree in Public Law. Born as a citizen of the Republic of China (Taiwan), she did not become a citizen of Japan until 1985 when the Nationality Law was amended to allow Japanese mothers to pass Japanese nationality to their children.[1][2] She adopted her mother's surname, Saitō (斉藤), when she acquired Japanese citizenship. To avoid name confusion in her career, she began to go simply by Renhō.

After her debut as a Clarion Girl in 1988, Renhō appeared on several television and radio programs as a commentator. In 1993, she became a newscaster on TBS and TV Asahi, covering several historical events including the Great Hanshin earthquake.[3]

She was married in 1993 and studied Chinese language at Peking University from 1995 to 1997. Renhō returned to television in 2000, anchoring and reporting on several TBS programs.[3] She reported from Taiwan during Chen Shui-bian's presidential campaign, which brought her to the attention of Taiwanese political leaders.[4] In Taiwan, she is often referred to as Lien-fang, the Standard Chinese pronunciation of her given name.

Politics[edit]

Renhō in 2013

In July 2004, Renhō was elected to the House of Councillors representing Tokyo as a member of the Democratic Party of Japan. Since election, she has been heavily involved in parenting issues and policies.[3] Renhō has criticized Japan's diplomacy with China and its refusal to recognize Taiwan, stating that "Japan is too polite when dealing with China, taking a low profile" and "Taiwan is my father's country. Why isn't Taiwan a country?"[4]

Since taking office, Renhō has traveled to Taiwan several times on official and unofficial business, garnering extensive public and media attention. She is reportedly close to senior members of the Democratic Progressive Party.[4]

After the DPJ assumed the reins of government in September 2009, she received much public attention for her stern stance and direct questions to bureaucrats during special fiscal screening committees of the Government Revitalization Unit (ja) established under Yukio Hatoyama.[3][5]

In June 2010, then Prime Minister Naoto Kan appointed her as Minister for Administrative Reforms.[6] Upon taking the post, Renhō stated that she would be giving particular attention to eliminating waste in the 21 government special account budgets (特別会計 maizokin, lit. buried treasure).[7] She lost her seat in Cabinet in a subsequent reshuffle, but was retained as a special advisor to the Prime Minister.

In the 11 July 2010, Upper House election, she garnered a record 1,710,734 constituency votes, the most ever.[8]

In September 2011, she was re-appointed as State Minister of Government Revitalization (responsible for administrative reforms) in the cabinet of then prime minister Yoshihiko Noda. Her new portfolio also included responsibility for civil service reform, gender equality and Japan's declining birthrate.

She retained her seat in the 2016 Upper House Election. [9]

Family[edit]

Her husband, Nobuyuki Murata (村田 信之 Murata Nobuyuki), is a journalist and a guest lecturer at several universities. In 1997, she gave birth to twins. She has two siblings, one brother who is one year older, and one brother who is two years younger.[10] Mark Chen, Taiwanese politician and former Secretary-General of the Office of the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is her distant relative.[11] She lives in Tokyo with her husband, children, and mother.[3]

References[edit]

Renhō in 2008

External links[edit]

House of Councillors
Preceded by
Toshio Ogawa
Toshiko Hamayotsu
Miyo Inoue
Atsuo Nakamura
Councillor for Tokyo's At-large district
2004–
Served alongside: Masaharu Nakagawa, Toshio Ogawa, Yūji Sawa, Toshiko Takeya, Kōta Matsuda
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Tomiko Okazaki
Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety
2011–
Incumbent
Preceded by
Yukio Edano
Minister of State for Government Revitalization
2010–
Preceded by
Kōichirō Genba
Minister of State for Civil Service Reform
2010–2011
Succeeded by
Kansei Nakano