Shinjirō Koizumi

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Shinjirō Koizumi
小泉 進次郎
Shinjiro Koizumi.jpg
Minister of the Environment
Assumed office
11 September 2019
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Preceded byYoshiaki Harada
Member of the House of Representatives for Kanagawa 11th district
Assumed office
31 August 2009
Preceded byJunichirō Koizumi
Personal details
Born (1981-04-14) 14 April 1981 (age 39)
Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan
Political partyLiberal Democratic Party
Spouse(s)
Children1
ParentsJunichiro Koizumi
Kayoko Miyamoto
Alma materKanto Gakuin University
Columbia University

Shinjirō Koizumi (小泉 進次郎, Koizumi Shinjirō, born 14 April 1981) is a Japanese politician who is currently serving as Minister of the Environment and a member of the House of Representatives of the Liberal Democratic Party. He is the second son of 56th Japanese Prime Minister Junichirō Koizumi and younger brother of actor Kotaro Koizumi. He enjoys popularity among both the Japanese public and younger LDP lawmakers, and is often viewed as a future candidate for Prime Minister of Japan.

Koizumi did a stint as a researcher at Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, while also active as Young Leader of the Pacific Forum CSIS. He served as his father's political secretary. He was elected to the lower house in 2009 after his father's retirement.

Koizumi has served as parliamentary vice-minister for reconstruction of the northeast region of Japan that was devastated by the March 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster. He has not, however, overtly backed his father's calls for Japan to abandon nuclear energy immediately.

Early life[edit]

Koizumi grew up in Yokosuka, his father's home district, attending Kanto Gakuin University in Yokohama from elementary school through university with a Bachelor of Economics degree in 2004. When he was a student in junior high and senior high schools, he was engrossed in playing sports, especially baseball. He received his master's degree in Political Science from Columbia University. He spent one year as a part-time research fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and as Young Leader of the Pacific Forum CSIS before returning to Japan in 2007.[1] After that, he worked as a private secretary of Junichirō, his father.

Political career[edit]

Following his father's announced retirement in 2008, he was elected to his father's former seat representing the Kanagawa 11th district in the August 2009 general election, in which many other LDP seats were lost to the Democratic Party of Japan. He campaigned in a rented Toyota Prius with a volunteer staff amid criticism of his status as a hereditary politician.[2]

Koizumi became head of the LDP's young legislators caucus in October 2011, a post previously held by Prime Ministers Takeshita, Uno, Kaifu, Abe and Asō. In February 2012, he started a project called "Team 11," which sent members of the division to areas of the Tōhoku region affected by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on the 11th of each month to talk to locals and report back on the state of the reconstruction efforts. The group had 82 members, all under the age of 45, as of March 2013. Some observers compared the group to the powerful "Machimura faction" led by Nobutaka Machimura in terms of its political weight.[3]

He was critical of the LDP under party president Sadakazu Tanigaki. In his first meeting as a party officer, he stated that "the image of the party is that it doesn't listen to the opinions of young people, has old thoughts and a hard head. That is why trust will not be restored."[4] He argued in a November 2011 speech that the party's stance on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement needed to be clarified.[5] He later advocated breaking up the LDP's agreement with the Democratic Party of Japan and Komeito to pass an overhaul of the social security and tax system, directly arguing to Tanigaki that the party's mission should be to take down the DPJ government and to restore LDP control, and drawing comparisons to his father's maverick reputation.[6]

Koizumi broke ranks with the LDP in August 2012 as one of seven LDP legislators who refused to walk out of the no-confidence vote instigated by Ichiro Ozawa against Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, in which the LDP and NK had agreed to throw out their votes. Although Koizumi voted for the no-confidence resolution, it was ultimately voted down 246–86.[7] He voted for Shigeru Ishiba against Shinzō Abe in the LDP leadership election of September 2012, but did not make his vote public until after the election in order to avoid influencing others' votes.[8]

Koizumi was re-elected in the December 2012 general election, which restored LDP control of the government under Abe. In the subsequent House of Councillors election in July 2013, he focused his campaigning efforts on disaster zones, outlying islands and areas in rapid population decline, giving speeches in support of their local LDP candidates. Kenichi Tokoi, a nonfiction author who wrote a book about Koizumi, said that his goal was to shake as many individual hands as possible and to leave the impression that he was kind enough to visit them, something which he could not achieve by campaigning in big cities.[9]

In October 2013, he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in charge of Tohoku Recovery, in which capacity he would oversee post-disaster reconstruction efforts in Iwate Prefecture and Miyagi Prefecture. Ishiba, then secretary general of the LDP, stated that Koizumi "made a very strong case" with local disaster victims "about what he wanted to do and why."[10] Tokoi characterized this posting as a test of Koizumi's administrative ability.[9]

Koizumi was reportedly considered for a formal cabinet post under the Abe government in the reshuffles of October 2015 and July 2017.[11][12] On September 11, 2019, Abe appointed Koizumi as Minister of the Environment.[13][14] He advocated for environmentalist policies, including ending Japan's use of nuclear and coal power, despite serving in a government considered skeptical of such policies.[15][16][17][18]

However, he supports the construction of new coal-fired power stations in Japan, despite their particulate and greenhouse gas emissions. His support for the construction of two coal-fired power stations in Yokosuka has led him to be a "a target of activists' wrath".[19]

Views[edit]

Like his father, Koizumi visits Yasukuni Shrine on 15 August, the anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II. He visited in 2012[20] and again in 2013.[21]

In a May 2013 interview with the Sankei Shimbun, he refused to comment on Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto's controversial remarks on comfort women, characterizing the issue as one that should be discussed among experts and historians rather than politicians. He described the perceived nationalist shift in Japanese politics as "Chinese propaganda" and stated that the government needed to wage a better public relations campaign against it while focusing on the successful implementation of Abenomics. He also commented on the Japanese Constitution, stating that amendments were necessary but that there were more immediate problems to be solved: "I go to the disaster zones in Tohoku every month, and the constitution has not come up even once as an issue when I walk down the street there."[22]

Koizumi was critical of the Abe government's decision to terminate a corporate tax surcharge intended to fund the Tohoku recovery, and views nuclear power as unsustainable in the long term, mirroring views that his father expressed in 2013.[10]

Popularity[edit]

Koizumi had a 75.6% approval rating at the start of his stint as parliamentary secretary for Tohoku recovery.[23] In a December 2013 TBS poll, he ranked second after Shinzo Abe as the most favoured candidate for prime minister, although 57% responded that they had no particular favoured candidate.[24] In April 2017, in the aftermath of the Moritomo Gakuen scandal surrounding Prime Minister Abe, polls by Yomiuri[25] and NTV[26] showed Koizumi as the most favoured LDP leader (and presumptive Prime Minister), surpassing both Abe and challenger Shigeru Ishiba.

Following the December 2012 election, the National Diet Building gift shop began selling "Shinji-Rolls" (進次ろうる), souvenir green tea-flavoured roll cakes branded with Koizumi's likeness. Shinji-Rolls became the gift shop's second most popular item in 2013, outselling souvenirs branded with the likenesses of LDP leaders Shigeru Ishiba and Taro Aso, and outsold only by manju bearing the likeness of Shinzo Abe.[27] In January 2020, Koizumi announced his plans to take two weeks of paternity leave when his first child is born.[28]

Personal life[edit]

On 7 August 2019, television announcer and news presenter Christel Takigawa announced that she married Shinjiro Koizumi. She gave birth to a son on 17 January 2020.[29]

Ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Shinjiro Koizumi". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  2. ^ Kubota, Yoko (17 August 2009). "The new face of Koizumi". Reuters. Archived from the original on 9 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  3. ^ "「進次郎青年局」82人の存在感 町村派に匹敵". 日本経済新聞. 3 March 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  4. ^ "小泉氏「自民は頭が固いイメージ」 初の役員会で". 日本経済新聞. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2014. 若者の意見を聞かない、考えは古い、頭は固いというのが党のイメージだ。だから信頼が回復しない。
  5. ^ "小泉氏「賛否言うべきだ」 執行部を批判". 日本経済新聞. 21 November 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  6. ^ "小泉親子が狙う強行策". 日本経済新聞. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  7. ^ "消費増税法案10日成立 不信任案否決、自民7人造反". 日本経済新聞. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  8. ^ "小泉氏は石破氏に投票(永田町ライブ)". 日本経済新聞. 26 September 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  9. ^ a b "青年局長・小泉進次郎は未来の総理か 2014年が勝負の年". 女性セブン. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  10. ^ a b Mie, Ayako (2 October 2013). "Koizumi takes up post for Tohoku reconstruction". The Japan Times. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  11. ^ Hongo, Jun (1 October 2015). "PM Abe Could Tap Younger Koizumi in Cabinet Reshuffle: Reports". WSJ. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Spotlight on Japan's "Macron", son of former premier Koizumi, ahead of cabinet reshuffle". Reuters. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  13. ^ McCurry, Justin (11 September 2019). "Shinzo Abe promotes rising star Koizumi in cabinet reshuffle". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  14. ^ Landers, Peter (11 September 2019). "Another Koizumi Politician Climbs the Ranks in Japan". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  15. ^ Green, Matthew (22 September 2019). "Make climate fight 'sexy,' says Japan's new environment minister". Reuters. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  16. ^ Sieg, Linda (11 September 2019). "Japan's Shinjiro Koizumi: rising star to be tested in PM Abe's new cabinet". Reuters. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  17. ^ "New environment minister says Japan should stop using nuclear power". Reuters. 11 September 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  18. ^ Davis, River (3 November 2019). "Japanese Princeling's Goal to Ditch Coal Hits a Snag: He's Environment Minister Now". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  19. ^ Tabuchi, Hiroko (3 February 2020). "Japan Races to Build New Coal-Burning Power Plants, Despite the Climate Risks". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  20. ^ "代理参拝数を70人に訂正 超党派靖国参拝の会". 日本経済新聞. 16 August 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  21. ^ "2 Japanese ministers visit controversial Yasukuni war shrine". AFP. 15 August 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  22. ^ 山本, 雄史 (19 May 2013). "【今週の進次郎】慰安婦問題のしつこい質問にブチ切れ寸前?". MSN Sankei News. Archived from the original on 7 December 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  23. ^ "進次郎人気裏付け 政務官就任期待76% 東北は全国平均下回る". MSN Sankei News. 7 October 2013. Archived from the original on 9 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  24. ^ "総理大臣にふさわしいと思う政治家は?". 7 December 2013. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  25. ^ "2018年3月31日~4月1日 電話全国世論調査". YOMIURI ONLINE. 2 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  26. ^ "日本テレビ世論調査". www.ntv.co.jp. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  27. ^ "国会土産でも進次郎人気 麻生、石破抑え堂々2位 1位の首相追う". MSN Sankei News. 13 November 2013. Archived from the original on 12 January 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  28. ^ Hollingsworth, Julia. "A Japanese minister is making waves for taking paternity leave". CNN. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  29. ^ Takahashi, Ryusei. "It's a boy! Christel Takigawa, wife of minister Shinjiro Koizumi, gives birth". The JapanTimes. Retrieved 19 January 2020.

External links[edit]

House of Representatives of Japan
Preceded by
Junichirō Koizumi
Representative for Kanagawa's 11th district
2009–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Yoshiaki Harada
Minister of the Environment
2019–present
Incumbent