The current Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the first woman to hold that office. Born January 14th 1944, she's the daughter of former prime minister Kakuei Tanaka and a graduate of Waseda university.

As a member of Junichiro Koizumi's cabinet, she may play a key role in his plans to reform the LDP and Japan's political system. Even before being appointed foreign minister, Tanaka had caused her share of scandals by being brash, outspoken and unhesitant to offend the old guard of backroom powermongers and beaurocrats, and this has only intensified now. She makes a lot of enemies this way, but the public and the press love her for it and her popularity rivals that of Koizumi himself. Whether this popularity persistes and is enough to make her resistant against the LDP's faction leaders' enmity remains to be seen.

Update 2002-01-29
Today, Mrs. Tanaka was fired by the prime minister, with no particular reason given. Apparently, her enemies' number added up to more than her popularity.