Born July 14, 1937
The eighty-fifth Prime Minister of Japan elected on April 5, 2000. (Liberal Democratic Party of Japan)
He based his economic and fiscal policies on promoting economic recovery after the crisis in the 90s. The policies center around four areas including promotion of the information-technology revolution.

Educational policy is one of his priority areas in his campaign for a "Rebirth of Japan." Mori chaired the Meeting of Heads of State and Government at the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit leading to the creation of the Okinawa Charter on Global Information Society, G7 Statement on the World Economy, G8 Statement on Regional Issues, and G8 Statement on Korean Peninsula.

Minister Yoshiro Mori once described his nation, in a speech to a Shintoist association, as "a divine nation with the Emperor at its core," he set off a firestorm of controversy that outraged commentators both at home and abroad. He was accused by the London Times of being zenophobic. Some of the things he's said seems to try to justify Japan's aggression during WW II. Still his stance on globalization has proved to be slightly more labor-friendly than that of the US and other western nations so the verdict is still out on how he rates as a global leader.

"As the 20th century drew to its close, Japan, suffering from prolonged economic stagnation and in a state of uncertainty concerning the future of society as a whole, had lost its sense of confidence, and among the people was a pervasive feeling of deprivation. However, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that the 21st century is one where we will swiftly free ourselves from the fetters of such circumstances and create a 'Century of Hope' in which each and every person is able to hold and indeed live out their hopes and dreams."


森 義郎

One of Mori's many infamous gaffes is that he totally screwed up the Buddhist prayer ritual at the funeral of his late predecessor, Keizo Obuchi. Each mourner is supposed to clap their hands and bow in a certain pattern before the shrine of the deceased. The visiting foreign dignitaries, including Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, had all been well-briefed on how to do the procedure, and all carried it out perfectly. Except, of course, for the new prime minister of Japan, who fumbled through the motions as if he had never had to carry them out before. Mori got a lot of flak for it, but it was soon drowned out by the amount of flak he received for the "divine nation" statement. Admittedly, it was also nowhere near as embarrassing as the incident where George Bush threw up in Noboru Takeshita's lap, but I digress.

Mori's "divine nation" statement, in the original Japanese, was "Nihon wa, tenno-chushin to shite kami no kuni de aru." The wording is much more innocuous than it might seem in English translation, because "kami no kuni" can be translated to "land of gods." In Shinto mythology (Mori was speaking before a Shinto clerics' conference at the time), Japan is supposed to be the home of all the kami gods, and it is quite possible that he meant to butter up the Shintoists, not dredge up memories of Hirohito. Of course, there were many people who took it the wrong way in Japanese as well, so, as the previous noder put it, the verdict is still out.

Another little-known fact about Mori is that he is an avid rugby player, and actually entered the field during one of Japan's rugby internationals. Amusing, to say the least. If he wasn't a good premier, he was at least good entertainment.

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