Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Japan

By J. A.A. Stockwin | Go to book overview

N

Nakagawa Ichirō

Born in 1925 in Hokkaidō, Nakagawa was first elected to the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES for the LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (LDP) in 1963. He first came to national attention as a member of the Seirankai (Young Storm Society) in 1973. The Seirankai was a group of hard-line right wingers in the LDP, who declared their loyalty to the 'Free World' in its struggle against Communism, and called for an improvement in moral standards, including a return to the teaching of strict morality through the education system. They argued vigorously that Japan needed a new Constitution written and endorsed by Japanese, not the current 'peace Constitution', which they argued had been imposed on a defeated Japan by the US occupiers (see CONSTITUTION OF 1946). This, of course, was standard right-wing rhetoric, but what attracted media attention was that they entered into a 'blood pledge' (keppan) of mutual loyalty.

Nakagawa was also quintessentially an agricultural politician, representing in particular the dairying interests of his sprawling constituency in eastern Hokkaidō, and working for the maintenance of high producer rice prices. In 1977-8 he was Agriculture Minister under the ideologically congenial Prime Minister, FUKUDA TAKEO. He founded his own small right-wing faction within the LDP early in 1980, and his faction was one of the three that abstained in a no-confidence motion against the OHIRA Government in May 1980, thus bringing it down. Ohira's successor, SUZUKI ZENKŌ, appointed him Minister of Science and Technology, possibly to forestall further acts of dissent. In November 1982 Suzuki resigned as LDP President (and Prime Minister). Nagakawa, along with NAKASONE YASUHIRO, KŌMOTO TOSHIO and ABE SHINTARŌ, contested the primary elections for the party presidency. He was only able to stand because the Fukuda faction 'lent' him enough members to give him 50 endorsements from LDP MPs, which they did in order to ensure the minimum of four candidates required for a primary election to be held. His percentage of the vote of party members, however, was a derisory 6.8 per cent.

Some months later he committed suicide for reasons that remain obscure.


Nakasone Yasuhiro

Prime Minister between 1982 and 1987, Nakasone Yasuhiro pursued policies of privatisation, financial conservatism, educational reform, reinforcement of military capacities, and consolidation of the security relationship with the United States.

Born in 1918 in Gunma, he graduated from Tokyo Imperial University and entered the Home Ministry. Shortly thereafter the war caught up with him and he served in the navy for the duration. After the defeat in 1945 he briefly returned to the Government BUREAUCRACY but resigned and stood for the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES in the general elections of April 1947. He was elected under the label of the DEMOCRATIC PARTY (I) for a constituency in Gunma that he went on to represent for more than fifty years.

During the Occupation period Nakasone campaigned on issues relating to national sovereignty, and was critical of YOSHIDA

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