(b. 14 Jan. 1905, d. 5 July 1995).
Prime Minister of Japan 1976–8
After graduating from Tokyo University's Faculty of Law in 1929, Fukuda Takeo followed the elite course to enter the Ministry of Finance as a career bureaucrat. In this, the most powerful of Japan's civil service ministries, Fukuda headed the budget and banking bureaux in the late 1940s. As a senior government official he was implicated in the Shôwa Denkô scandal, although the courts cleared him of all charges in 1958. Fukuda's Diet career began in 1952 and he progressed rapidly as an associate of Kishi Nobusuke. He came to serve in senior party positions within the Liberal Democratic Party to become Minister of Agriculture in 1959. Under Ikeda Hayato's premiership Fukuda was a voice of dissent within the party, and he openly criticized government economic policy for its inflationary effects.
Fukuda's support for Satô Eisaku's election to the premiership was rewarded with his appointment as Minister of Finance in 1965. Although Fukuda was widely expected to succeed Satô, he did not win the premiership until 1976. Nevertheless, Fukuda was a leading figure in the governments of most of the 1970s, and as Minster of Finance in Tanaka Kakuei's Cabinet he was responsible for the government's attempts to control inflation in the wake of the first oil price shock. After 1978, Fukuda continued a campaign of rivalry with ôhira Masayoshi who had replaced him as Prime Minister, and battles between the two threatened to split the ruling party towards the end of the decade. After 1980 Fukuda retired from the forefront of politics, although he remained an influential party broker. One of the achievements of his brief premiership was the negotiation of the peace settlement with China.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).