Yuriko Koike

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Yuriko Koike
小池 百合子
Yuriko Koike - World Economic Forum on the Middle East 2008.jpg
Minister of Defense
In office
4 July 2007 – 27 August 2007
Prime Minister Shinzō Abe
Preceded by Fumio Kyuma
Succeeded by Masahiko Kōmura
1st Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for National Security Issues
In office
26 September 2006 – 4 July 2007
Preceded by New post
Succeeded by None
6th Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs
In office
27 September 2004 – 26 September 2006
Preceded by Toshimitsu Motegi
Succeeded by Sanae Takaichi
4th Minister of the Environment (Japan)
In office
22 September 2003 – 26 September 2006
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
Preceded by Shunichi Suzuki
Succeeded by Masatoshi Wakabayashi
Member of the House of Representatives for Tokyo's 10th district
Assumed office
11 September 2006
Preceded by Koki Kobayashi
Majority 109,764 (50.05%)
Personal details
Born (1952-07-15) July 15, 1952 (age 63)
Ashiya, Hyōgo, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Political party Liberal Democratic Party (2003–present)
New Conservative Party (2000–2003)
Liberal Party (1997–2000)
New Frontier Party (1994–1997)
Japan New Party (1992–1994)
Residence Toshima, Tokyo, Japan
Alma mater Cairo University
American University in Cairo †
Kwansei Gakuin University ‡
Profession News anchor, interpreter, politician
Website http://www.yuriko.or.jp

Yuriko Koike (小池 百合子 Koike Yuriko?, born 15 July 1952) is a Japanese politician, who was the Minister of Defense in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but resigned 27 August 2007 after only 54 days in office.[1] She is a member of the House of Representatives of Japan for Tokyo's 10th district.

Early life and education[edit]

Born and raised in Ashiya, Hyogo, a wealthy Kobe suburb, Koike went to Kōnan Girls' Junior and Senior High School for her secondary education. Her father, Yūjirō Koike, was a foreign trade merchant who handled oil products. He was also involved in politics, supporting Shintarō Ishihara and the Tatenokai in 1960s, and ran for a national election to no avail in 1969.[2] He occasionally told Yuriko his opinion that it was essential for Japan to strengthen relations with Arab countries in order to ensure a stable petroleum supply lest the resource-poor Japan be thrust into war for oil again. His word encouraged her to decide to study in Egypt to master Arabic.[2][3]

After attending the School of Sociology at Kwansei Gakuin University in 1971 and the American University in Cairo in 1972, Koike received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Cairo University in 1976. She married a Japanese student in Egypt when she was 21 years old, but divorced soon after.[4][5]

Career in media[edit]

Koike anchored TV Tokyo's World Business Satellite, the nation-wide TV business news program from 1988-92, after co-hosting Kenichi Takemura's Storytelling on Social Aspects (世相講談 Sesō kōdan?) of NTV from 1979-85.[citation needed]

Career in politics[edit]

Koike, dubbed "Japan's Condi Rice",[6] shakes hands with Condoleezza Rice in August 2007.

Koike currently belongs to the Liberal Democratic Party after she belonged to the Japan New Party, New Frontier Party, Liberal Party, and New Conservative Party. She served one term in the House of Councillors.[citation needed]

Koike is one of the five Vice Secretaries General of the Diet Members' Committee of Japan Conference (日本会議 Nippon Kaigi?), the country's largest conservative think tank and the main revisionist lobby, once chaired by Taro Aso. A past participant in the World Economic Forum, Koike has been considered a prime candidate to become Japan's first female prime minister. Koike is a long-time participant in the U.S.-Japan Legislative Exchange Program hosted by George Washington University and run by Professor Henry Nau.[citation needed]

She previously served as the Minister of the Environment and Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs in the Cabinet of Jun'ichirō Koizumi, Abe's predecessor. Originally representing Hyōgo Prefecture, Koike became one of Koizumi's "assassins" in the 2005 Lower House election, and was critical of LDP members who were defiant of Koizumi's leadership. Her most recent position before becoming Minister of Defense was Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for National Security Issues in the Abe Cabinet.[citation needed]

Koike announced on 24 August 2007 that she intended to resign from the post, citing the Aegis classified information leak scandal as a reason.[1] Koike later hinted that the much publicized fight she had had with Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki over a vice-minister replacement was the real reason, as the opposition would use that to oppose a bill on Japan's terrorism laws.[7]

Following the resignation of Tokyo governor Naoki Inose on 19 December 2013, she was widely rumored to be a potential candidate for the gubernatorial election expected to be held in February 2014, along with Hideo Higashikokubaru, Hakubun Shimomura, Seiko Hashimoto and Yoichi Masuzoe.[8]

2008 LDP leadership election[edit]

On 8 September 2008, she launched her bid to become President of the LDP and became the first woman ever to seek the premiership in Japan's history: "I have received the enthusiastic support of my colleagues. In order to break through the deadlock facing Japanese society, I believe the country might as well have a female candidate. Hillary used the word 'glass ceiling' ... but in Japan, it isn't glass, it's an iron plate. I'm not Mrs Thatcher, but what is needed is a strategy that advances a cause with conviction, clear policies and sympathy with the people."[9] In the leadership election, held on 22 September, Tarō Asō won with 351 of the 527 votes; Koike placed third with 46 votes.[10]

Political positions[edit]

Koike supports for economic liberalism, promotes administrative and budgetary reform, and insists on further advancement of the status of women in the working world. Her motto is "Check, Challenge, Change, Creative and Communication."[11]

Having learned ecological lifestyle from her own experience of wartime austerities in Egypt,[3] Koike addresses environmental issues. She received the Japan Jewelry Best Dresser Award for her success in the Cool Biz and Warm Biz campaign. She expressed the idea of introducing carbon tax in 2005 so that Japan might achieve the goals of the Kyoto Protocol.[12]

In 2006, she started the "Mottainai Furoshiki" campaign, which urges shoppers to use furoshiki in place of plastic shopping bags.[13] She is against the use of biofuels made from food crops.[14]

As a conservative nationalist, she belongs to the Diet members' league to support the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform.[15][16]

She is a member of the Diet members' group to promote Yasukuni Shrine visits, led by Yoshinobu Shimamura, and goes to worship the war dead at the shrine on War-End Day, 15 August, almost every year.[16] Not being able to visit it due to an official trip to Okinawa, she sent her proxy to worship at the shrine in 2007.[17][18][19]

Her foreign and security policies are often regarded as hawkish.[6][16][20] She suggested that the prime minister revise the interpretation of Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan to enable the government to exercise the right to collective self-defense.[16][21]

She has supported the United States and the War on Terror and opposes the Japanese government's tradition of UN-centered foreign policy.[22] During the 2008 LDP leadership election, she pledged to make Russia return the four disputed islands to Japan if she was elected as prime minister.[23]


  • 1977 – Interpreter and Translator of Arabic, Secretary General of the Japan-Arab Association.
  • 1978 – Interviewer and Coordinator for the Nippon TV Special "Colonel Qaddafi and Yasser Arafat"
  • 1979 – News presenter for Nippon TV's Daily Program "Current Issues"
  • 1988–1989 – News presenter for TV Tokyo's Financial and Business Programs "World Business Satellite" and "Top Business Executives"
  • 1990 – Secretary General of the Japan-Arab Association.
  • 1992 – Elected to the House of Councillors from the Japan New Party.
  • 1993 – Elected to the House of Representatives from Hyōgo Prefecture's Second District, Vice-Minister of the Management and Coordination Agency.
  • 1994 – Vice-President of the Japan New Party, founding member of the New Frontier Party.
  • 1995 – Assistant to the Secretary General of the New Frontier Party.
  • 1996 – Director of the Public Relations Bureau of the New Frontier Party, re-elected to the House of Representatives from Hyōgo Prefecture's Sixth District.
  • 1997 – Chair of the Standing Committee on Science and Technology of the House of Representatives
  • 1998 – Founding Member of the Liberal Party, member of the Standing Committee on Trade and Industry of the House of Representatives, Director of the Standing Committee on Finance of the House of Representatives.
  • 1999 – Member of the Committee on Public Relations of the Liberal Party, State Secretary for the Economic Planning Chair of the Liberal Party.
  • 2000 – Member of the Standing Committee on Finance and the Standing Committee on Health and Welfare of the House of Representatives, Vice-Chair of the New Conservative Party Policy Planning Committee, and re-elected to the House of Representatives from Hyōgo Prefecture's Sixth District.
  • 2003 – Minister of the Environment, Minister in Charge of Global Environmental Problems (Second Koizumi Cabinet), re-elected to the House of Representatives, Minister of the Environment and Minister in Charge of Global Environmental Problems (Second Reshuffled First Koizumi Cabinet), and member of the Committee on Economy, Trade and Industry and the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives.
  • 2004 – Minister of the Environment, Minister in Charge of Global Environmental Problems, and Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs (Reshuffled Second Koizumi Cabinet).
  • 2005 – Minister of the Environment, Minister in Charge of Global Environmental Problems, and Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs (Third Koizumi Cabinet and reshuffled Third Koizumi Cabinet). Re-elected to the House of Representatives.
  • 2006 – Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for National Security Affairs (First Abe Cabinet).
  • 2007 – Minister of Defense (First Abe Cabinet). Left office after only 54 days in office.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Koike decides to leave post, cites responsibility over information leak, JapanNewsReview.com; accessed 18 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Oyaji no Senaka", Asahi Shimbun Morning Edition, 24 August 2008.
  3. ^ a b "Kikase te Anata no Mottainai", Shufu-to-Seikatsusha, 12 September 2006.
  4. ^ Masaharu Fujiyoshi. "Koike Yuriko Kenkyū", Shūkan Bunshun, Bungeishunjū, 20 October 2005.
  5. ^ "Koike Yuriko Fūin no Nijūissai", Flash, vol. 1020, Kobunsha, September 2008.
  6. ^ a b "'Japan's Condi Rice' known for courting controversy", The Japan Times, 5 July 2007.
  7. ^ "Resigning Koike criticizes opposition", JapanNewsReview.com; accessed 18 June 2015.
  8. ^ "猪瀬知事が辞職表明 「都政を停滞させられない」". 日本経済新聞. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 自民党の石破茂幹事長は19日午前、東京都連幹部と協議し、年内の候補者決定を目指す方針を確認した。党内では小池百合子元防衛相や下村博文文部科学相、橋本聖子参院議員らの名前が取り沙汰されている。7月の参院選への出馬を見送った元新党改革代表の舛添要一氏、日本維新の会を離党して衆院議員を辞職した東国原英夫氏らの名前も浮上している。 
  9. ^ Japan PM contender sees "iron" barrier for women, reuters.com; accessed 18 June 2015.
  10. ^ "Aso elected LDP head", yomiuri.co.jp, 22 September 2008.
  11. ^ "Koike Yuriko Kihon Rinen", Koike Yuriko official website.(Japanese)
  12. ^ "Koike pledges to push carbon tax to meet goals under Kyoto Protocol", japantimes.co.jp, 6 November 2005.
  13. ^ "Minister Koike created the 'Mottainai Furoshiki'", env.go.jp; accessed 18 June 2015.
  14. ^ Mainichi Shimbun Morning Edition, 11 March 2008.
  15. ^ "Uha no Sokkin de Katamerareta Abe Seiken", chosunonline.com, 27 September 2006.(Japanese)
  16. ^ a b c d "'Yasukuni Shikan' Kataru Menmen", Akahata, 6 October 2006. (Japanese)
  17. ^ "Koike Daijin Kaiken Gaiyō", 7 August 2007.(Japanese)
  18. ^ Yasukuni Sampaisha List 2007", kinyobi.co.jp; accessed 18 June 2015.(Japanese)
  19. ^ "Sōsaisen Yasukuni demo Zessen", Sankei Shimbun, headlines.yahoo.co.jp, 15 September 2008.(Japanese)
  20. ^ "Chūgokushi 'Koike Shin Bōeishō wa Takaha no Seijika'", Nippon News Network, 4 July 2007.(Japanese)
  21. ^ "Nippon ga Dekiru Keizai Seisai", Voice, April 2003.(Japanese)
  22. ^ "Ozawa Ichirō to Koizumi Junichirō o Kiru", yuriko.or.jp, January 2008.(Japanese)
  23. ^ "Dōshūsei Dōnyū ni Iyoku", Chugoku Shimbun, 15 September 2008.(Japanese)

External links[edit]

House of Representatives of Japan
Preceded by
Representative from Hyōgo 2nd district (multi-member)
Succeeded by
District eliminated
New district Representative for Hyōgo 6th district
Succeeded by
Kōichirō Ichimura
Preceded by
Representative for the Kinki proportional representation block
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Kōki Kobayashi
Representative for Tokyo 10th district
Succeeded by
Takako Ebata
Preceded by
Representative for the Tokyo proportional representation block
Political offices
Preceded by
Shunichi Suzuki
Minister of the Environment
Succeeded by
Masatoshi Wakabayashi
Preceded by
Toshimitsu Motegi
Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs
Succeeded by
Sanae Takaichi
Preceded by
New post
Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for National Security Issues
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Fumio Kyuma
Minister of Defense
July–August 2007
Succeeded by
Masahiko Komura