Shigeru Ishiba

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Shigeru Ishiba
石破 茂
Gates meets Ishiba 8 November 2007 cropped for Ishiba.jpg
Minister for Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy
Minister of State for the National Strategic Special Zones
In office
3 September 2014 – 3 August 2016
Prime Minister Shinzō Abe
Preceded by Position Created
Succeeded by Kozo Yamamoto
Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party
In office
26 September 2012 – 3 September 2014
Prime Minister Shinzō Abe
Preceded by Kosuke Hori
Succeeded by Sadakazu Tanigaki
Minister of Defence
In office
26 September 2007 – 1 August 2008
Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda
Preceded by Masahiko Kōmura
Succeeded by Yoshimasa Hayashi
Personal details
Born (1957-02-04) 4 February 1957 (age 60)
Yazu, Tottori, Japan
Alma mater Keio University

Shigeru Ishiba (石破 茂, Ishiba Shigeru, born 4 February 1957) is a Japanese politician. Ishiba is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and of Heisei-Kenkyukai (part of the party faction led by Fukushiro Nukaga) until 2011.[1] He was Minister of Defense from 2007 to 2008 and was also Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The LDP lost government in 2009, and in 2012 after challenging for the presidency of the LDP and losing to Shinzō Abe he accepted the position of Secretary-General of the LDP on 27 September 2012. Since 3 September 2014 he has served in cabinet as minister overseeing regional economic revitalization and policies aimed at reversing population decline.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in Yazu District, Tottori, his father Jiro was the governor of Tottori Prefecture. Ishiba graduated from Keio University in 1979 and started working in Mitsui Bank.

Political career[edit]

Ishiba was appointed as the Minister of Defense to the cabinet of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on 26 September 2007,[1] serving in that post until 1 August 2008. Ishiba was the second person in the cabinet of Fukuda to express belief in the existence of UFOs after Nobutaka Machimura.[3] To that end he appeared on a Japanese TV program which featured dubbed extracts from the National Geographic Channel's Alien Invasion series in June 2012.

Following Fukuda's resignation, Ishiba stood as a candidate for the LDP presidency. In the leadership election, held on 22 September 2008, Tarō Asō won with 351 of the 527 votes; Ishiba placed fifth and last with 25 votes.[4] In Aso's Cabinet, appointed on 24 September 2008, Ishiba was named as Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.[5]

In 2012, while the LDP was still in opposition, Ishiba again stood for the presidency of the LDP and was narrowly defeated by Shinzō Abe. He accepted the position of secretary general on 27 September 2012.[6] Abe re-appointed him to the position after the December 2012 election in which the LDP returned to government.[7]

He attracted considerable criticism for his statement in November 2013 that likened peaceful public protests against the new secrecy bill being introduced by his government to "acts of terrorism".[8] He later withdrew the comment.[9]

In the September 2014 cabinet reshuffle, Abe moved Ishiba from his position as LDP Secretary General and appointed him to a newly created office of Minister for Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy. He was reported to have declined the offer of a cabinet post responsible for the government's upcoming security legislation.[2]

In spite of having been a vocal critic of factionalism in the LDP, Ishiba launched his own faction, the Suigetsukai, on September 28, 2015, with the aim of succeeding sitting prime minister, Shinzo Abe. However, with 19 members, excluding Ishiba, it was one member short of the 20 votes required for nomination for LDP leadership.[10]

Ishiba is affiliated to the openly revisionist organization Nippon Kaigi.[11]

Interest in military issues[edit]

Ishiba is known as a "gunji otaku" (military geek) and has a keen interest in military matters.[12] He is known for having a lot of expertise related to weapons systems, legal issues about defense and is also fond of building and painting models of aircraft and ships.[13]

Ishiba has repeatedly stated that he believes that Japan needs its own equivalent of the United States Marine Corps to be able to defend its many small islands, in 2010 when he was policy chief for the LDP in opposition,[14] and as secretary-general of the party in March 2013 after the LDP regained government.[15]

In 2011, Ishiba backed the idea of Japan maintaining the capability of building nuclear weapons:

I don't think Japan needs to possess nuclear weapons, but it's important to maintain our commercial reactors because it would allow us to produce a nuclear warhead in a short amount of time ... It's a tacit nuclear deterrent[16]

During the 2013 North Korean crisis, Ishiba stated that Japan had the right to deliver a preemptive strike against North Korea.[17]



  1. ^ a b "Fukuda Cabinet launched / Changes minimized to reduce impact on Diet business", The Yomiuri Shimbun, 26 September 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Abe keeps core intact in Cabinet shake-up". Japan Times. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2015. 
  3. ^ Japan's defense minister braces for aliens,, 20 December 2007
  4. ^ "Aso elected LDP head", The Yomiuri Shimbun, 22 September 2008.
  5. ^ "Aso elected premier / Announces Cabinet lineup himself; poll likely on Nov. 2", The Yomiuri Shimbun, 25 September 2008.
  6. ^ [The Japan Times] Ishiba to be LDP's new secretary general 28 September 2012
  7. ^ Wall Street Journal Japan's Abe Appoints Ex-Rival as His No. 2 December 25, 2012
  8. ^ Japan Times Secrecy law protests ‘act of terrorism’: LDP secretary-general December 1, 2013
  9. ^ Japan Times Ishiba softens criticism of bill protesters December 2, 2013
  10. ^ Nikkei Asian Review Senior LDP member Ishiba forms faction, aiming to succeed Abe September 28, 2015
  11. ^ "Abe’s reshuffle promotes right-wingers" (Korea Joongang Daily - 2014/09/05)
  12. ^ [The Japan Times] LDP off the policy autopilot: Ishiba 8 October 2009
  13. ^ [The Japan Times] 'Military geek' Ishiba returns to friendly territory 27 September 2007
  14. ^ Japan Times Japan needs own marines: LDP’s Ishiba May 25, 2010
  15. ^ NHK website Ishiba urges creation of Japanese marine corps March 26, 2013
  16. ^ Chester Dawson (28 October 2011). "In Japan, Provocative Case for Staying Nuclear". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  17. ^
House of Representatives of Japan
New district Representative for Tottori 1st district
Preceded by
Yasuo Shimada
Bun Takebe
Kōzō Hirabayashi
Hideyuki Aizawa
Representative for Tottori At-large district
Served alongside: Kōzō Hirabayashi, Kōken Nosaka, Hideyuki Aizawa, Bun Takebe
district eliminated
Political offices
Preceded by
Position Created
Minister for Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy
Succeeded by
Kozo Yamamoto
Preceded by
Seiichi Ota
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan
Succeeded by
Hirotaka Akamatsu
Preceded by
Masahiko Kōmura
Minister of Defence of Japan
Succeeded by
Yoshimasa Hayashi
Preceded by
Gen Nakatani
Director General of Japan Defense Agency
Succeeded by
Yoshinori Ohno
Party political offices
Preceded by
Nobuteru Ishihara
Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Sadakazu Tanigaki
Preceded by
Kōsuke Hori
Policy Affairs Research Council Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Toshimitsu Motegi