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Katô Takaaki


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(b. 3 Jan. 1860, d. 28 Jan. 1926).

Prime Minister of Japan 1924–5Katô's early career was with the Mitsubishi zaibatsu, which always gave him its full support. In 1887 he entered public life and spent time in the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During an earlier period as a student in England and later on diplomatic duties in London, Katô had developed a close affinity with Great Britain and was an advocate of an Anglo‐Japanese alliance. As Foreign Minister (1913–15) he resigned following the presentation to China of the Twenty‐One Demands. He became president of the Kenseikai (predecessor to the Minseitô) and was leader of the opposition until 1924, when his party came to power. During his two years as Prime Minister Katô introduced universal male suffrage, reduced the size and influence of the army, and lessened the power of the House of Peers. At the same time, however, he sponsored repressive legislation such as the Peace Preservation Law and introduced military training into high school. Despite this, Katô's government is remembered as a high point in the democratic interlude that Japan experienced between the wars.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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