TARō ASō (麻生 太郎, Asō Tarō, born 20 September 1940) is a Japanese politician who is the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance . Asō was the 59th Prime Minister of Japan serving from September 2008 to September 2009, and was defeated in the August 2009 election.
Asō has served in the House of Representatives since 1979. He was
Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2007, and was
Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) briefly in
2007 and in 2008. He was President of the LDP from 2008 to 2009. His
After the LDP's victory in the 2012 general election under Shinzō Abe he was appointed to the cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and State Minister for Financial Services. He has held the positions since 26 December 2012.
* 1 Early life and education * 2 Career
* 3 Political career
* 3.1 Controversial statements * 3.2 Aso Mining forced labor controversy * 3.3 Reading mistakes * 3.4 Nonaka incident
* 4 Personal life
* 4.1 Fondness for fine dining
* 4.4 Family tree
* 4.4.1 Ancestry
* 5 Honours * 6 Bibliography * 7 References * 8 External links
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Asō, a Roman Catholic , was born in Iizuka in
Fukuoka Prefecture on
20 September 1940. His father, Takakichi Asō, was the chairman of
the Aso Cement Company and a close associate of Prime Minister Kakuei
Tanaka ; his mother Kazuko Asō was Prime Minister
Asō spent two years working for a diamond mining operation in Sierra
Leone before civil war forced him to return to Japan. Then he joined
his father's company in 1966, and served as president of the Aso
Mining Company from 1973 to 1979. Working for the company, he lived in
Asō was elected as a member of the House of Representatives in October 1979, and has since been re-elected eight times. In 1988, he became Parliamentary Vice Minister for Education.
He joined the Cabinet of Jun\'ichirō Koizumi in 2003 as Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications. On 31 October 2005, he became Minister for Foreign Affairs. There has been some speculation that his position in the Cabinet was due to his membership in the Kōno Group, an LDP caucus led by pro-Chinese lawmaker Yōhei Kōno : by appointing Asō as Minister for Foreign Affairs, Koizumi may have been attempting to "rein in" Kōno's statements critical of Japanese foreign policy.
Asō was one of the final candidates to replace Koizumi as prime
minister in 2006, but lost the internal party election to Shinzō Abe
by a wide margin. Both Abe and Asō are conservative on foreign policy
issues and have taken confrontational stances towards some East Asian
On 14 September 2007, shortly after Abe announced his resignation,
Asō announced his candidacy to replace Abe as Prime Minister. Asō
was considered to be a leading candidate for the position, but was
soon eclipsed by
Yasuo Fukuda , a more "dovish" politician supported
Asō acknowledged that he would most likely lose to Fukuda, but said that he wanted to run so that there would be an open election, saying that otherwise LDP would face criticism for making its choice "through back-room deals". In the President election , held on 23 September, Fukuda defeated Asō, receiving 330 votes against 197 votes for Asō.
On 1 August 2008, Fukuda appointed Asō as Secretary-General of LDP, a move that solidified Asō's position as the number two man in the party.
Unexpectedly on 1 September 2008, Fukuda announced his resignation as
Prime Minister. Five LDP members including Asō ran for new party
President to succeed Fukuda. On 21 September, one day before votes of
Diet party members, Asō reportedly told a crowd of supporters outside
Tokyo: "The greatest concern right now is the economy." "America is
facing a financial crisis ... we must not allow that to bring us down
as well." Finally on 22 September, Asō did win. He was elected as
President of LDP with 351 of 525 votes (217 from 384 Diet party
members, 134 from 47 prefecture branches);
Two days later on 24 September, Asō was designated by the Diet as Prime Minister, and was formally appointed to the office by the Emperor on that night. In the House of Representatives (lower house), he garnered 337 out of 478 votes cast; in the House of Councillors (upper house), Ichirō Ozawa , President of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, was named through two times of ballots. Because no agreement was reached at a joint committee of both Houses, the resolution of the House of Representatives became the resolution of the Diet, as is stipulated in the Constitution. Asō reportedly said, "If you look at the current period, it's not a stable one." and "These are turbulent times with the financial situation and everything else."
Later on the same day as his election as Prime Minister, Asō
personally announced his new Cabinet (this is normally done by the
Chief Cabinet Secretary
Prime Minister Asō flew to Washington to meet with United States
After his election as prime minister Asō was expected to dissolve
the lower house to clear the way for a general election. But he
repeatedly stressed the need for a functioning government to face the
economic crisis and ruled out an early election. Only after passage
of the extra budget for fiscal 2009 in May and facing internal
pressure from the LDP after a series of defeats in regional elections
– most notably the Tokyo prefectural election on 12 July – he
decided to announce a general election for 30 August 2009 . He
dissolved the House of Representatives on 21 July 2009. The LDP lost
by a landslide to Democratic Party of
In 2001, as economics minister, he was quoted as saying he wanted to
On 15 October 2005, during the opening ceremony of the Kyushu
National Museum which also displays how other Asian cultures have
influenced Japanese cultural heritage, he praised
At a lecture in Nagasaki Prefecture, Asō referred to a Japanese
peace initiative on the
On 21 December 2005, he said
Mainichi Daily News reported that on 9 March 2006 he referred to
On 23 September 2008, Akahata , the daily newspaper published by Japanese Communist Party released a compiled list of these and other statements as the front page article criticizing Asō. This compilation as well as similar lists of blunders have been frequently cited in the Japanese media.
Yahoo! News reported that he had said on 9 January 2009, "To work is good. It's completely different thinking from the Old Testament."
While speaking at a meeting of the National Council on Social Security Reform, in 2013, Aso referred to patients suffering from serious illness as “tube persons” and remarked that they should be “allowed to die quickly” it they desired it. “Heaven forbid I should be kept alive if I want to die,” he is quoted as saying. “You cannot sleep well when you think it’s all paid by the government. This won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die.”
In 2014, while campaigning in Sapporo for the general election, Aso said that rising social welfare costs were not solely due to an aging population. He said “There are many people who are creating the image that (the increasing number of) elderly people is bad, but more problematic is people who don’t give birth,”. The comment was labeled as insensitive to those who are not able to have children for biological or economic reasons.
ASO MINING FORCED LABOR CONTROVERSY
For more details on this topic, see Aso Mining forced labor controversy .
Affiliated to the openly revisionist organization Nippon Kaigi, Asō
In mid-2008 Asō conceded that his family's coal mine, Aso Mining Company, was alleged to have forced Allied prisoners of war to work in the mines in 1945 without pay. Western media reported that 300 prisoners, including 197 Australians, 101 British , and two Dutch , worked in the mine. Two of the Australians, John Watson and Leslie Edgar George Wilkie, died while working in the Aso mine. In addition, 10,000 Korean conscripts worked in the mine between 1939 and 1945 under severe, brutal conditions in which many of them died or were injured while receiving little pay. The company, now known as the Aso Group, is run by Asō's younger brother. Asō's wife serves on its board of directors . Asō headed the company in the 1970s before going into politics.
Acting on a request from Yukihisa Fujita , the Foreign Ministry investigated and announced on 18 December 2008 that Aso Mining had, in fact, used 300 Allied POWs at its mine during World War II. The ministry confirmed that two Australians had died while working at the mine, but declined to release their names or causes of deaths for "privacy reasons". Said Fujita, "Prisoner policy is important in many ways for diplomacy, and it is a major problem that the issue has been neglected for so long." Asō has not responded to requests from former laborers to apologize for the way they were treated by his family's company.
The Japanese media noted in November 2008 that Asō often mispronounced or incorrectly read kanji words written in his speeches, even though many of the words are commonly used in Japanese. Asō spoke of the speaking errors to reporters on 12 November 2008 saying, "Those were just reading errors, just mistakes." Asō's tendency for malapropisms has led comparisons to George W. Bush , and the use of his name, "Tarō" as a schoolyard taunt for unintelligent children.
An anatomy professor from the
University of Tokyo
In 2001, Asō, along with
Hiromu Nonaka , was among the LDP's chief
candidates to succeed
Nonaka subsequently withdrew as a candidate. Asō eventually lost the appointment to Jun\'ichirō Koizumi . Asō's comment about Nonaka's heritage was revealed in 2005. Asō denied that he had made the statement, but Hisaoki Kamei , who was present at the 2001 meeting, stated in January 2009 that he had heard Asō say something, "to that effect". Nonaka said that he would "never forgive" Asō for the comment and went on to state that Asō was a "misery" to Japan.
FONDNESS FOR FINE DINING
In October 2008, the Japanese media reported that Asō dined-out or drank in restaurants and bars in luxury hotels almost nightly. When asked about it, Asō stated, "I won't change my style. Luckily I have my money and can afford it." Asō added that if he went anywhere else, he would have to be accompanied by security guards which would cause trouble.
According to the Asahi Shimbun , Asō dined-out or drank at bars 32 times in September 2008, mainly at exclusive hotels. Asō's predecessor, Yasuo Fukuda, dined-out only seven times in his first month in office. Both of the LDP's opposition parties have called Asō's frequent outings inappropriate. Asō's Chief Cabinet Secretary , Jun Matsumoto , commented on the issue by saying that Asō's frequent trips to restaurants, "is his lifestyle and philosophy, and I am not in a position to express my opinion. If only there were more appropriate places when considering security issues and not causing trouble for other customers."
Asō argues that embracing Japanese pop culture can be an important step to cultivating ties with other countries, hoping that manga will act as a bridge to the world. He is referred to as an otaku .
Asō has been a fan of manga since childhood. He had his family send
manga magazines from
It was reported that he was seen reading the manga
Rozen Maiden in
Tokyo International Airport , which earned him the sobriquet "His
Excellency Rozen". He admitted in an interview that he had read the
manga; however, he said he did not remember whether he had read it in
an airport. He is a fan of
Asō's candidacy for the position of Japanese Prime Minister actually caused share-value to rise among some manga publishers and companies related to the manga industry.
(Chigai Kuginuki ), The mon of the Asō clan
As a Roman Catholic, Asō belongs to the small minority of Japanese
Christians ; but he has not emphasized his religiosity. While
Christians only account for around 1% of the Japanese, Asō is the
seventh Christian prime minister of Japan, after
On occasion of his 2009 new year visit to the Shinto Ise Shrine , Asō publicly performed the hand-clapping in front of the shrine, stating later that he had "prayed for the good of the Japanese people".
Incorporates information from the Japanese article
Asō is a patrilineal descendant of the Asō clan and is maternally
Ōkubo Toshimichi through his son
ANCESTORS OF TARō ASō
16. Asō Goyō (d. 1887)
8. Asō Takichi (1857–1933)
17. Nagayomi Matsu
4. Asō Tarō (1887–1919)
9. Kikkawa Yazu (1856–1924)
2. Asō Takakichi (1911–1980)
20. Tachibana Tanemichi (1797–1855)
10. Viscount Kanō Hisayoshi, 4th Lord of Ichinomiya Domain (1848–1919)
21. NN (d. 1855)
5. Hon. Kanō Natsuko (1893–?)
22. Ōkubo Noriyoshi, 3rd Lord of Ogino-Yamanaka Domain (1825–1885)
11. Ōkubo Fumiko (1852–1893)
23. Seki Fukuko (d. 1916)
1. ASō TARō
24. Tsuna NN
12. Tsuna Takeuchi (1840–1922)
3. Yoshida Kazuko
28. Ōkubo Toshimichi (1830–1878)
29. Hayasaki Masako (d. 1878)
7. Lady Makino Yukiko
15. Hon. Mishima Mineko
* Grand Cross with diamonds of the Order of the Sun , 2008
* Takashi Hirose (広瀬隆); 『私物国家 日本の黒幕の系図』 Tokyo: Kobunsha (1997) Genealogy14 * Aso, Taro (2007). 自由と繁栄の弧. Tokyo: Gentosha . ISBN 978-4-344-41197-5 . * Aso, Taro (2007). とてつもない日本. Tokyo: Shinchosha . ISBN 978-4-10-610217-2 .
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