Suzuki Kantaro, Japanese Imperial Navy
, was born in Chiba
on Christmas Eve
. He served in the navy for forty years, retiring in 1927
to join Hirohito
's privy council
: in 1936
, he was almost assassinated in the February 26 Incident
After serving in various posts, including president of the Education Council, he became prime minister of Japan in April of 1945, at the age of 77. He was a very reluctant candidate for the post, chosen for being apolitical, unlike pro-war Tojo Hideki and pro-peace Konoe Fumimaro.
Although he verbally wanted peace with the Allies, he refused to surrender on their terms, believing that the Japanese could never accept a surrender that would remove the Emperor from power. Instead, he wanted to negotiate a peace treaty through the Soviet Union, which had been neutral in the Pacific theater up to that point.
Then came the bombing of Hiroshima: on August 9, Suzuki met with the other members of the ruling junta to discuss whether or not to accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration. Then the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, and Hirohito ordered Suzuki to accept the Allies' terms. A group of officers again tried to kill Suzuki on August 14, but he survived and went into hiding. He died on April 17, 1948, revered by many and scorned by many more, and remains one of the most controversial leaders in Japanese history.
<< Koiso Kuniaki - Prime ministers of Japan - Higashikuni Naruhiko >>