Miki Takeo


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(b. 17 Mar. 1907, d. 14 Nov. 1988).

Prime Minister of Japan 1974–6 Miki enjoyed a lifelong reputation as a politician with high moral standards, and as such has often appeared an unlikely member of Japan's ruling party. Miki's prewar political pedigree was unorthodox. He had studied in the USA, returning to Japan to stand for election to the lower house of the Diet in 1937. At this time Miki developed a reputation as an independent politician, organizing opinion against war with the USA. Despite his failure to obtain the support of the authorities for his candidature in the 1942 Diet elections, he was re-elected. In 1946 Miki was involved with the establishment of the Cooperative Democratic Party which in a variety of guises represented a moderately conservative political outlook. He also participated in the formation of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 1955 and held high Cabinet and party office from that time onwards. Miki was always identified with the wing of the LDP closest to the opposition parties and as a result, there was often speculation that he might lead his followers out of the party during periods when it appeared ideologically extreme or corrupt. After resigning from Tanaka Kakuei's Cabinet in 1974 in protest against the premier's style of money politics, Miki chose to accept his party's offer to become Tanaka's successor. When Miki allowed the investigation of Tanaka to go too far, however, several factions united against him and he was forced to resign, and take responsibility for the LDP's poor performance in the 1976 House of Representatives elections.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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