Ryutaro Hashimoto

Ryūtarō Hashimoto
橋本 龍太郎
Ryutaro Hashimoto cropped 1 Ryutaro Hashimoto 19960111.jpg
Ryūtarō Hashimoto
53rd Prime Minister of Japan
In office
11 January 1996 – 30 July 1998
DeputyWataru Kubo
Preceded byTomiichi Murayama
Succeeded byKeizō Obuchi
Deputy Prime Minister of Japan
In office
2 October 1995 – 11 January 1996
Prime MinisterTomiichi Murayama
Preceded byYōhei Kōno
Succeeded byWataru Kubo
Minister of Finance
In office
28 January 1998 – 30 January 1998
Prime MinisterRyutaro Hashimoto
Preceded byHiroshi Mitsuzuka
Succeeded byHikaru Matsunaga
In office
10 August 1989 – 14 October 1991
Prime MinisterToshiki Kaifu
Preceded byTatsuo Murayama
Succeeded byToshiki Kaifu (Acting)
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
In office
30 June 1994 – 11 January 1996
Prime MinisterTomiichi Murayama
Preceded byEijiro Hata
Succeeded byShunpei Tsukahara
Minister of Transport
In office
22 July 1986 – 6 November 1987
Prime MinisterYasuhiro Nakasone
Preceded byHiroshi Mitsuzuka
Succeeded byShintaro Ishihara
Minister of Health
In office
7 December 1978 – 9 November 1979
Prime MinisterMasayoshi Ōhira
Preceded byTatsuo Ozawa
Succeeded byKyoichi Noro
Personal details
Born(1937-07-29)29 July 1937
Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Died1 July 2006(2006-07-01) (aged 68)
Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Political partyLiberal Democratic Party
ChildrenGaku Hashimoto
Alma materKeio University

Ryutaro Hashimoto (橋本 龍太郎, Hashimoto Ryūtarō, 29 July 1937 – 1 July 2006) was a Japanese politician who served as the 82nd and 83rd Prime Minister of Japan from 11 January 1996 to 30 July 1998. He was the leader of one of the largest factions within the ruling LDP through most of the 1990s and remained a powerful back-room player in Japanese politics until scandal forced him to resign his leadership position in 2004. Disgraced, he chose not to stand in the general election of 2005, and effectively retired from politics. He died on 1 July 2006 at a Tokyo hospital.

Early political life

with Tomiichi Murayama and the Ministers of Murayama Government (at the Prime Minister's Official Residence on 30 June 1994)

Hashimoto was born on 29 July 1937,[1] in Sōja in Okayama Prefecture. His father, Ryōgo Hashimoto, was a cabinet minister under Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi. 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 of Japan 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 Masayoshi Ōhira in 1978, and in 1980 became the LDP's director of finance and public administration. He again became a cabinet minister in 1986 under Yasuhiro Nakasone, and in 1989 became secretary general of the LDP, the highest rank short of party president (if the LDP is in government, usually also the prime minister.)

Hashimoto became a key figure in the strong LDP faction founded by Kakuei Tanaka in the 1970s, which later fell into the hands of Noboru Takeshita, who then was tainted by the Recruit scandal of 1988. In 1991, the press had discovered that one of Hashimoto's secretaries had been involved in an illegal financial dealing. Hashimoto retired as Minister of Finance from the Second Kaifu Cabinet. Following the collapse of the bubble economy, the LDP momentarily lost power in 1993/94 during the Hosokawa and Hata anti-LDP coalition cabinets negotiated by LDP defector Ichirō Ozawa. Hashimoto was brought back to the cabinet when the LDP under Yōhei Kōno returned to power in 1994 by entering a ruling coalition with traditional archrival Japanese Socialist Party (JSP), giving the prime ministership to the junior partner, and the minor New Party Harbinger (NPH). Hashimoto became Minister of International Trade and Industry in the Murayama Cabinet of Tomiichi Murayama.[2] As the chief of MITI, Hashimoto made himself known at meetings of APEC and at summit conferences.

In September 1995, Yōhei Kōno did not stand for another term. Hashimoto won the election to LDP president against Jun'ichirō Koizumi 304 votes to 87,[3] and succeeded Kōno as leader of the party and as deputy prime minister in the Murayama cabinet.[4]

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