by Kevin R Burns
Junichiro Koizumi was Prime Minister of Japan from 2001-2006.
Currently he is campaigning to end the use of nuclear power in Japan.
"Widely seen as a maverick leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), he became known as an economic reformer, focusing on Japan's government debt and the privatization of its postal service. In 2005, Koizumi led the LDP to win one of the largest parliamentary majorities in modern Japanese history.
Koizumi also attracted international attention through his deployment of the Japan Self-Defense Forces to Iraq, the first foreign deployment of the Japanese military since World War II. His visits to Yasukuni Shrine led to diplomatic tensions with neighboring China and Korea."
Although I didn`t always agree with what the former Prime Minister said or did, undeniably he was successful and put his stamp on Japan and Japanese politics.
(Photo of Koizumi, courtesy of Wikipedia.org)
Junichiro Koizumi is the first Prime Minister to have served more than five years in office since 1972. Japanese politics is like a revolving door, and that door often slams you in the back as you are going out, just ask former Prime Ministers Hosokawa and Hatoyama. It often leaves a graveyard of former (depressed) Prime Ministers in its wake.
Being a nationalist, Koizumi often went to pray for Japan`s war dead at Yasukuni Shrine. Unfortunately many Class A Japanese war criminals are honored there as well. Of course, this angered the countries who were the victims of Japanese aggression during World War 2. He said he was doing so as a private citizen but it angered China, and South Korea nonetheless. Relations between Japan and some countries in Asia were hurt by his actions.
"On August 15, 2005, the sixtieth anniversary of the end of World War II, Koizumi publicly stated that Japan was deeply saddened by the suffering it caused during World War II and vowed Japan would never again
take "the path to war".10
However, Koizumi was criticized for actions which allegedly ran contrary to this expression of remorse (e.g. the Yasukuni visits), which resulted in worsening relations with China and South Korea."
One of Junichiro Koizumi`s successes was the privatization of the post office. This was not a popular move in Japan, however Koizumi pushed it through. It was one of the moves by our former PM that I agreed with. I think this well reap dividends in the future. Private companies almost always perform betterand with less waste than public ones.
As well, Koizumi did his best to reform the financial system in Japan. He did what few others were willing to take on--tackling government debt and reforming the Japanese economic system. Indeed, he had the charisma and support to get it done.
Japan has done better since Koizumi. Perhaps we have him partly at least, to thank for that. He was well respected in North America for his guts to tackle Japan`s economic problems.He acted against bad debts at Japanese banks and harped on the need for reform to improve the Japanese financial and economic system for the future.
Junichiro Koizumi and his charisma gave Japan hope with his Trudeau-esque panache, and hob-knobbing with Hollywood stars like Richard Gere. He managed to distract Japanese from much of the negativity that had taken over during Japan`s lost decade 1990-2000.
In his personal life, Koizumi divorced after four years of marriage. He never remarried. Until fairly recently he hadn`t even met his youngest son, a graduate of Keio, Yoshinaga Miyamoto, as he was brought up by his mother, and Koizumi refused to meet him for a long time. Miyamoto was even turned away from attending his paternal grandmother`s funeral.
In more recent times however, Miyamoto and his father Junichiro have met and now see each other from time to time. Reportedly Miyamoto is now an actor in Japan.