Mori, Yoshiri

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Mori, Yoshiri

Yoshiri Mori, 1937–, Japanese politician, prime minister of Japan (2000–2001), b. Neagari. Born into a political family in rural Ishikawa prefecture and educated at Waseda Univ., he was a newspaper reporter before his first election to the Diet in 1969. During the late 1980s Mori was implicated in an insider-trading scandal; emerging relatively unscathed, he served in cabinet posts as minister of education and of trade from 1983 to 1996. A loyal member of the Liberal Democratic party (LDP), he was its secretary-general (1993–95; 1998–2000).

Upon the incapacitation of Keizo Obuchi, Mori became prime minister and immediately called for new elections, which the LDP-led coalition won, albeit with a loss of seats. The burly, blunt-spoken Mori was widely criticized for numerous off-the-cuff remarks that insulted a variety of groups and, more importantly, for his lack of experience in foreign policy. Although Mori continued his predecessor's attempts at reviving Japan's ailing economy, he proved to be an unpopular leader, undermining his government through a series of political blunders, and he was soon replaced by Junichiro Koizumi.

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