Nakasone Yasuhiro

(b. 1917)

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(b. 27 May 1918).

Prime Minister of Japan 1982–7A civil servant in Japan's Home Ministry, he entered politics in 1947 when he was elected to the Diet. He established a controversial reputation for himself early by petitioning the American authorities to leave his country. He was also somewhat unconventional by the standards of his time, proposing, for example, that Emperor Hirohito had a moral responsibility for the war and arguing for a more open imperial family. As a prominent politician, Nakasone first entered the Cabinet in 1959 and his career in government included many of its key posts. He succeeded Suzuki Zenko as Prime Minister and president of the Liberal Democratic Party in October 1982, and held power until his resignation in 1987. During his premiership, Nakasone sought to project a new, more confident image of Japan overseas, whilst instituting reforms of the public sector at home. His style of leadership attracted considerable opposition within his own party, but the support of the Tanaka faction, as well as his popularity with the electorate, ensured his survival. His reputation as an opportunistic politician earned him the nickname of the ‘weathervane’ of Japanese politics. Nevertheless his ability to read the electorate, as well as his skill as a communicator, have made him one of Japan's outstanding postwar premiers.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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