If you don’t pay attention to your rival, you get hit on the head.
The sixty-sixth prime minister of Japan
. He was born on July 29, 1937
in the city of Soja
, the son of Hashimoto Ryogo
, a cabinet minister under Prime Minister Kishi Nobusuke
. Following his father's lead, Ryutaro received his degree in political science
from Keio University
in 1960, and was elected to the House of Representatives
in the Diet
in 1963. He moved through the ranks of the Liberal Democratic Party
over the next twenty years, landing a spot as Minister of Health and Welfare
under premier Ohira Masayoshi
in 1978, and in 1980 became the LDP's director of finance
and public administration
. He again became a cabinet minister in 1986 under Nakasone Yasuhiro
, and in 1989 became secretary general
of the LDP, the highest rank short of prime minister.
The LDP momentarily lost power following the collapse of the bubble economy, and in 1991, the press discovered that one of Hashimoto's secretaries had been involved in an illegal financial dealing. Hashimoto retired as Minister of Finance, but was almost immediately brought back to the cabinet, this time under coaltion premier Murayama Tomiichi as Minister of International Trade and Industry. As the chief of MITI, Hashimoto made himself known at meetings of APEC and at summit conferences, scoring many brownie points with the members of the LDP. When Murayama stepped down in 1996, the LDP elected Hashimoto to become Japan's next prime minister.
Hashimoto was a popular prime minister. When asked about why Japanese car dealerships didn't sell American cars, he answered, "Why doesn't IBM sell Fujitsu computers?" But when Japan's economy didn't seem to be recovering from its 1991 collapse, he ordered a commission of experts from the private sector to look into improving the Japanese market for foreign competition, and eventually opening it completely. Just to prove how bad ass he was, he dissolved parliament twice, and was re-elected each time.
The third time he dissolved parliament, in 1998, the LDP suddenly lost seats: it seemed as though Hashimoto's mystique had run its course. Hashimoto was so embarrassed that he resigned his post, letting Foreign Minister Obuchi Keizo take over. Like Tanaka Kakuei and Nakasone Yasuhiro before him, Hashimoto stayed in the upper echelons of the LDP, and continues to be a dominating back room force in Japanese politics. There was some talk of Hashimoto making another run for the prime minister's office after the resignation of Mori Yoshiro, but he elected to let Koizumi Junichiro through instead.
He is an avid kendoist, hence the quote above; he also likes mountain climbing, and has climed Mount Everest twice. He has two sons, three daughters, and two grandchildren.
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