|Governor of Tokyo|
|Preceded by||Ryotaro Azuma|
|Succeeded by||Shunichi Suzuki|
|Member of the House of Councillors|
|Born||February 5, 1904
Tokyo, Empire of Japan
|Died||December 24, 1984
Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Ryokichi Minobe (美濃部 亮吉 Minobe Ryōkichi, February 5, 1904 – December 24, 1984) was a Japanese politician who served as Governor of Tokyo from 1967 to 1979. He is one of the best known socialist figures in modern Japanese history.
Minobe was born in Tokyo. His father, Tatsukichi Minobe, was a noted constitutional scholar, while his mother Tamiko was the eldest daughter of mathematician, educator, and politician Dairoku Kikuchi.
In 1945, Minobe became an editorial writer for the newspaper Mainichi Shimbun. He was chosen to head the Cabinet Statistics Office in 1946.
Governor of Tokyo
In 1967, Minobe ran as the Communist and Socialist candidate for Governor of Tokyo. He defeated his two rivals, Rikkyo University president Masatoshi Matsushita (nominee of the LDP and DSP) and Shibusawa Shipping head Ken'ichi Abe (nominee of Komeito).
Among his many policy achievements, he is best known for:
- providing free health care for the elderly
- enactment of pollution controls
- converting streets in heavily trafficked areas to pedestrian-only use
- allowing the construction of the Korean School in Tokyo and exempting its owner, Chosen Soren, from local taxation
- ending government sponsorship to Korakuen Hall race tracks
In 1971, Minobe won re-election, defeating LDP candidate Akira Hatano. He was re-elected for a third term in 1975, with the backing of the Socialists, Communists, and Komeito. (His defeated rival, LDP candidate Shintarō Ishihara, later served as a cabinet minister and eventually won the Tokyo governorship in the 1999 election.)
Many of Minobe's policies toward Chosen Soren, the Zainichi Korean group affiliated with North Korea were later undone by Ishihara in the aftermath of the revelation of North Korean abductions of Japanese.
Minobe refused to run for a fourth term in 1979. He ran for the House of Councillors in 1980 and won a seat. He remained a member of the Diet until his death in 1984.
- "N Korea group's Tokyo offices 'seized'". BBC News. 2003-09-09. Retrieved 2007-03-16.