The Prime Ministers of Japan: Who is the Best and Who is the Worst?

May 26, 2019


 

It is a very sensitive topic to talk about politics; since many people have their own thoughts about their policies for political activities. Talking about politics between friends and family, just to chat, is not a big issue but talking about politics in an article, requires careful handling.

If you’re living in Japan, have you ever been curious about the Prime Ministers of Japan? This article will introduce you to 10 of the more well known Prime Ministers in Japan and highlight the features of their political activities.

 

1. The Prime Minister of Japan!

 

Do you know the steps of how a Japanese person can become the Prime Minister of Japan? Here are the 3 main steps which Japanese people need to take to become the Prime Minister:

 

1. People need to be selected as a member of the Japanese Parliament first.

2. Secondly, they will need to be nominated as Prime Minister at the National Diet in Japan.

3. Finally, they will need to be nominated as Prime Minister by his Majesty the Emperor of Japan.

 

Let’s explain each of these steps in more detail:

1. People need to be selected as a member of Parliament first.

In order to be a member of Parliament in Japan, people need to first stand for election and need to get the most votes from the Japanese citizens. To get the votes from the Japanese citizens, each candidate needs to give a clear explanation to the citizens of “HOW TO MAKE JAPAN A BETTER COUNTRY”. This makes the  Japanese citizens get inspired by the candidate, which then will give that candidate the chance to get many votes from the citizens toward winning the seat of the Prime Minister.

2. Secondly, people need to be nominated as Prime Minister at the National Diet in Japan.

Here is the next step. It’s not going to be the main goal for everyone who gets into Parliament to be the Prime Minister in Japan. But the person who wants to be the Prime Minister needs another new strong support system and a lot of trust by each of the political parties. They need to make them believe they are the right person to be the Prime Minister of Japan.

Here is the breakdown:

1. Japanese citizens select the RIGHT PERSON to be a member of the National Diet in Japan. We do this every year by election.

2. After the selected person becomes a member of the National Diet, now the next step is to get an agreement from each political party to select the RIGHT PERSON to be the Prime Minister of Japan.

3. Finally, the person needs to be nominated as Prime Minister by his Majesty the Emperor.

The final step in officially becoming the Prime Minister of Japan is the person needs to be nominated officially by his Majesty the Emperor. All of the people who want to be the Prime Minister of Japan need to attend a swearing-in ceremony and get officially approved by his Majesty the Emperor of Japan. After that, he can become the formal Prime Minister. It is similar to becoming the head class representative in middle school, obviously on a smaller scale.

Now you know how Japanese people can become the Prime Minister of Japan, so let’s learn about the characteristics of the former Prime Ministers of Japan who did special or unique things for political activities, including our most recent Prime Minister who only stepped down last month.

 

2. Prime Minister #1

 

The very first Prime Minister of Japan was called “Hirofumi Ito”.

Tenure: December 22nd, 1885- April 30th, 1988 (During the Meiji Period)

Age at inauguration: 44 years old

Home town: Yamaguchi Prefecture

Characteristics of his political activity:

1. He regarded women’s education as an important thing and he launched the society for the promotion of women’s education.

2. He is the one who made the blowfish (what we call “fugu” in Japanese) a local specialty in the Yamaguchi prefecture. It was forbidden to eat fugu at that time in Japan but once Hirofumi Ito ate fugu in a Japanese inn, he said it was so delicious and he removed the ban of eating fugu, only in Shimonoseki city in Japan though. This started making eating fugu very popular in Japan, especially in the Yamaguchi prefecture.

 

3. Prime Minister #2

 

 

The Financially talented Prime Minister of Japan was called “Masayoshi Matsukata”.

Tenure: September 18th, 1896 – January 12th, 1898 (During Meiji period)

Age at inauguration: 61 years old

Home town: Kagoshima Prefecture

Characteristics of his political activity:

1. He is the one who was talented in financial matters. He made efforts not only as Prime Minister in Japan but also as the Minister of Finance.

2. He is the one who created the major Bank of Japan where Japanese people issued bills. No other company could do this but the Bank of Japan, only they could issue banknotes in Japan at the time. They had created all of the bank notes;  such as the 10,000 yen note, the 5,000 yen note, the 2,000 yen note, and the 1,000 yen note. All the money from the governments’ consumption taxes from Japanese citizens and National debts were deposited into the Bank of Japan first. Then, the Bank of Japan gave money to the Japanese government to pay for public work and the salaries for government employees.

 

4. Prime Minister #3

 

The Prime Minister of Japan who got the Nobel Peace Prize is called “Eisaku Sato”.

Tenure: November 9th, 1964- January 12th, 1972 (During Showa period)

Age at inauguration: 63 years old

Home town: Yamaguchi Prefecture

Characteristics of his political activity:

1. He is the legend who achieved the 3 major political activities, “Japan‐Republic of Korea Basic Relations Treaty”, “Three non-nuclear principles” and “ The Reversion of Okinawa to Japan” which created great support towards Japan.

2. He got the Nobel Peace Prize due to the admiration he received by the success of the reversion of Okinawa to Japan.

 

5. Prime Minister #4

 

The Prime Minister of Japan who had first implemented the consumption TAX in Japan is called “Noboru Takeshita”.

Tenure: November 6th, 1987 – June 3rd, 1989 (During Showa & Heisei period)

Age at inauguration: 63 years old

Home town: Shimane Prefecture

Characteristics of his political activity:

1. Consumption tax was introduced by Noboru Takeshita during the year of 1989, starting with a 3% consumption tax. It’s now normal to see that there is consumption tax everywhere in the world, but he is the one who started this system in Japan. How do you count consumption tax in Japan?

Here is the example:

* 3% consumption tax=3 yen

* 5% consumption tax=5 yen

* 8% consumption tax=8 yen

* 10% consumption tax=10 yen

 

6. Prime Minister #5

 

The Prime Minister of Japan who became an idol to the Japanese people is called “Junichiro Koizumi”.

Tenure: April 26th, 2001 – September 26th, 2006 (During Heisei period)

Age at inauguration: 59 years old

Home town: Kanagawa Prefecture

Characteristics of his political activity:

1. During the year of 2005, during his Prime Ministerial term, his political measurement called “COOL BIZ” (no tie & no jacket) was introduced into Japan. COOL BIZ is the abbreviation of COOL BUSINESS. As you all know, Japan is a hot and humid country, especially during the summer, this political measurement helped all the Japanese people; especially the men, who need to wear a business suit every day.

 

7. Prime Minister #6

 

The Prime Minister of Japan who made Gross National Products become 4 times larger is called “Hayato Ikeda”.

Tenure: July 19th, 1960- November 9th, 1964 (During Heisei period)

Age at inauguration: 60 years old

Home town: Hiroshima Prefecture

Characteristics of his political activity:

1. Hayato Ikeda was the person who doubled the National income plan and the economic growth policy. This resulted in making the Gross National Products amount to 4 times larger in 10 years which was twice the amount of what was originally planned.

2. The Tokyo Olympics was in the year of 1964 in Japan. People say the Olympics are the best way to move into a new economic boom and Hayato Ikeda used this opportunity to make peoples income double.

 

8. Prime Minister #7

 

The Prime Minister who has just recently stepped down is called “Shinzo Abe”.

Tenure: December 12th, 2012-  April 2019 (During Heisei period)

Age at inauguration: 58 years old

Home town: Yamaguchi Prefecture

Characteristics in his political activity:

1. Shinzo Abe is the person who promoted the Japanese Military Defence to a higher status.

2. He raised the consumption tax from 5% to 8% during April 2014. Secondly, he will again be planning to raise the consumption tax from 8% to 10% this year in October 2019. The purpose of raising to 10% is for the following reasons: returning the National debt, support for annuity insurance, help with nursing care, and child raising.

 

9. Prime Minister #8

The Prime Minister of Japan who is the symbol of the Heisei Period is called “Keizo Obuchi”.

Tenure: July 30th, 1998- April 12th, 2000 (During Heisei period)

Age at inauguration: 61 years old

Home town: Gunma Prefecture

Characteristics of his political activity:

1. He is the one who named the new Japanese era  “Heisei” during 1989,

2. He triggered Japan to become an Internet Bubble during his tenure. He also raised Nikkei Stocks average onto a 20,000 yen level.

 

10. Prime Minister #9

 

The Prime Minister of Japan who is the symbol of the founder of the Liberal Democratic Party is called “Ichiro Hatoyama”.

Tenure: December 29th, 1954- December 23rd, 1956 (During Showa period)

Age at inauguration: 71 years old

Home town: Tokyo

Characteristics of his political activity:

1. Ichiro Hatoyama is the person who succeeded in making a Japan-Soviet diplomatic relations recovery.

2. Ichiro Hatoyama is the person who succeeded in returning the long-term Siberian detainees.

 

9. Prime Minister #10

 

 

 

The Prime Minister of Japan who is the founder of Waseda University is called “Shigenobu Okuma”.

Tenure: June 30th, 1898- December 8th, 1898 (During Meiji period)

Age at inauguration: 60 years old

Home town: Saga Prefecture

Characteristics of his political activity:

1. Shigenobu Okuma founded the famous and popular University called Waseda University. This is one of the most prestigious universities in Japan.

 

10. Who is the best and who is the worst?

 

There are 96 people who became the Prime Minister of Japan. Shinzo Abe is the 97th person. This article showed you 10 people out of 97 past Prime Ministers of Japan, but who do you think is the best and who would be the worst?

It’s always difficult to answer this question since each Prime Minister has both good and bad qualities. It always depends on how long they can perform their duty of Prime Minister since sometimes they didn’t have enough time in the chair to achieve their goals. Judging the Prime Ministers in Japan is a very sensitive issue and a hard one to decide since each Japanese person has their own values as to what they think makes Japanese people HAPPY.

Some people say Japan is too quick in changing their Prime Ministers, but let’s all see how it goes.

We are always wishing to make Japan HAPPIER every year!

That’s the dream ALL Japanese people have and that will never change.

YAE

Japan

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