Takeiri Yoshikatsu was Chairman of the CLEAN GOVERNMENT PARTY (CGP, Kōmeitō) (founded 1964) from February 1967 until December 1986, when he was replaced by YANO JUNYA.
Takeiri was born in 1926 in Nagano, and by the early 1960s was a senior executive of the Sōka Gakkai, the parent organisation of the CGP. He was elected for a Lower House Tokyo constituency in the elections between 1964 and 1986. Until 1970 the CGP was essentially the political arm of the Sōka Gakkai, but in that year a scandal forced the two organisations to separate, at least nominally.
In 1971 Takeiri led a CGP delegation to Beijing and met the top Chinese leaders. This initiated a crucial chain of events leading to normalisation of Japan-China relations in 1972. Takeiri had developed close links with Tanaka Kakuei, and, when Tanaka became Prime Minister in July 1972, he acted as much the most important of several informal intermediaries linking Tanaka and the Chinese leadership. Takeiri was in effect negotiating on Tanaka's behalf [see also CHINA (PRC AND ROC), RELATIONS WITH].
Under Takeiri relations between the CGP and the JAPAN COMMUNIST PARTY (JCP)-two parties contesting a very similar socio-economic constituency-were hostile. When, in 1975, the Sōka Gakkai chairman, Ikeda Daisaku, attempted a reconciliation with the JCP, Takeiri fiercely rejected his initiative.
The Tanaka-Takeiri connection persisted and was carefully cultivated by Tanaka. Takeiri was party to the attempt in 1984 to replace NAKASONE as Prime Minister by NIKAIDŌ SUSUMU, which would have meant splitting the LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY and forming a centrist coalition Government. The plan was eventually vetoed by Tanaka, and Takeiri was criticised within the CGP for this 'unauthorised' initiative, weakening his position within the party.
On 28 September 1998, Takeiri was severely criticised in the Kōmei Shinbun for reminiscences he had published in the Asahi Shinbun concerning his relations with the Sōka Gakkai during his period as party Chairman.
Takeiri was a pragmatic politician, who had considerable success in establishing and consolidating the CGP as a centrist party over the first two decades of its existence.
Takeshita Noboru was often regarded as embodying Japan's tradition of clientelist politics, but it might be more accurate to see him as representative of the specific traditions established by the faction of TANAKA KAKUEI, dominant in the LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (LDP) from the 1970s into the 1990s.
He was born in rural Shimane in February 1924 and died in June 2000. He was elected to local political office in 1951 and became a member of the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES in 1958 at the age of 34. He rose quickly within the LDP, being Chief Cabinet Secretary under SATŌ EISAKU and Minster of Construction