Sato Eisaku


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(b. 27 Mar. 1901, d. 3 June 1975).

Prime Minister of Japan 1964–72 The brother of Kishi Nobusuke, another famous postwar Prime Minister, although his period in power was to be much longer and less controversial. Satô was one of the so-called Yoshida school, a bureaucrat recruited by Yoshida Shigeru into the political world. After a period in the railways ministry during the war, Satô entered the government as Chief Cabinet Secretary to Yoshida's second Cabinet in late 1948 despite the fact that he was not a member of the Diet. Elected to the Diet the following year, he established himself as a close member of Yoshida's inner circle, serving as Post and Telecommunications Minister and Minister of Construction. Though Yoshida was largely excluded from the new conservative order established after the formation of the Liberal Democratic Party, Satô's career was only temporarily affected and thanks to his family connections he joined Kishi Nobusuke's Cabinet as Minister of Finance in 1958. He continued to serve in Ikeda Hayato's administration and was his successor in 1964. His premiership, which survived for over seven and a half years, saw the peak years of Japan's economic growth. Aside from his guidance of economic policy, Satô's skilful handling of diplomacy allowed him to ensure the return of Okinawa from the USA. He also improved relations between Japan and South Korea. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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