Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Japan

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

Wada Hiroo, born in 1903, was an atypical Socialist of the post-war period. With KATSUMATA SEIICHI, Sata Tadataka and others of left-wing opinions, he had been an official of the Government's Planning Board, until, following the exposure of the Sorge spy ring in 1941, his group was accused of Communist inclinations and its members were imprisoned. After the war he returned to a senior post in the Ministry of Agriculture (see MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES), and then in April 1946 became Minister of Agriculture in the first YOSHIDA administration. When the KATAYAMA coalition Government was formed in June 1947, Wada became Director-General of the Economic Stabilisation Board, and an important pipeline to the bureaucracy for the Socialists in the coalition.

In 1949 he joined the JAPAN SOCIALIST PARTY (JSP), and when it split over the peace settlement in 1951 he joined the Left Socialist Party and became leader of one of its four factions (see FACTIONS WITHIN POLITICAL PARTIES), other members including Katsumata and Sata. This core group derived its solidarity from the Planning Board experience, but the faction recruited members of differing backgrounds, and maintained a wide range of labour union contacts. There was no doubting the left-wing credentials of Wada and his faction, but their reputation was that of policy-oriented intellectuals. For that very reason they aroused some distrust among other left wingers in the party, particularly of the SUZUKI faction, which regarded them as power rivals.

In the 1950s Wada fought hard against the developing security arrangements with the United States, and became Secretary-General of the Left Socialist Party in January 1954. After the party reunited in October 1955, he occupied various positions, and was important in the struggles against the revised Security Treaty in 1958-60 (see SECURITY TREATY REVISION CRISIS). In the early 1960s, as Chairman of the JSP Foreign Policy Bureau, he played a key role in developing the party's advocacy of 'positive neutrality' in world affairs, resisting the tendency to pull it towards a pro-Soviet interpretation. In January 1966 he resigned his party vice-chairmanship because of ill health and died in 1967.


Further reading
Cole et al. (1966)
Stockwin (1968)
Totten (1966)

Watanabe Michio

Watanabe Michio was a right-wing LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (LDP) politician who took over the NAKASONE faction in the late 1980s, had the earthy populist manner of a faction boss, and aspired in vain to become PRIME MINISTER.

Born in Tochigi in 1923, he worked in a tax office and was a local councillor before entering the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES in 1963 for a Tochigi constituency. He joined the Nakasone faction of the LDP, and from 1973 was a leading member of the Young Storm Association (Seirankai) of right-wing activists, where he showed strong concern for economic issues. He was successively Minister of Health

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