Profile of Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori
A Life Full of Encounters with Remarkable People
|Yoshiro Mori was born in the town of
Neagari, Ishikawa Prefecture, on July 14, 1937. His father, Shigeki, was
in the Truk Islands (now Chuuk) in the Pacific Ocean when World War II
ended and returned to Japan in January 1946. His mother, Kaoru, had died
from illness about a year before, when Mori was seven. Kaoru's younger
sister, Akiko, then became a surrogate mother and raised Mori. Both Mori's
grandfather and father served for a long time as mayor of Neagari. For
nearly 40 years his father made sincere efforts to build friendly
relations between Neagari and the city of Shelekhov in Russia, as well as
between the cities of Kanazawa and Irkutsk. After his death in 1989, in
accordance with his will, his ashes were partially buried in a grave built
by the citizens of Shelekhov.
In his school days Mori had the good fortune to come into contact with many wonderful teachers who exerted a great influence on the formation of his character. He learned not only about academic subjects but many other things that are truly important for personal growth, such as courteousness, independence, and a sense of responsibility. Mori was an enthusiastic baseball player in his childhood, but at the age of 11 he learned about the game of rugby through his father, who had belonged to the rugby club at Waseda University. For Mori, the attraction of rugby lies in its fighting and self-sacrificing spirit and teamwork. After entering high school, Mori devoted himself to rugby as his sport for life.
Upon gaining admission to Waseda University, Mori joined the rugby club there, but he later joined the university's oratorical society, which has been a training ground for many of Japan's political leaders. Here he met many people who aspired to become politicians, including Noboru Takeshita and Keizo Obuchi who went on to become Prime Ministers. Through his participation in the oratorical society, Mori gained a taste of the political world, and gradually the dream of becoming a politician began to take shape inside him.
After his graduation from Waseda, Mori joined the Sankei Shimbun, a major newspaper in Japan. He worked on the Japan Industrial Journal, a newspaper published by the daily. Through his journalistic career, Mori came into contact with many business leaders who represented Japan at that time, such as Soichiro Honda, the founder of Honda Motor Co., and was able to learn much from them. This was an invaluable experience for Mori. As his passion for politics continued to burn, Mori left the Sankei Shimbun in the summer of 1962 and became a secretary to a member of the House of Representatives from Ehime Prefecture. This was the first step in his political career.
In the House of Representatives election in December 1969 Mori stood as an independent candidate from Ishikawa Prefecture and finished first, winning a Diet seat at the youthful age of 32. Since then he has been reelected 10 consecutive times. After his first election, Mori joined the Liberal Democratic Party and came under the tutelage of the noble-minded former Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, who preached simplicity and humbleness. Mori was also greatly influenced in the areas of domestic and foreign policy by former Minister for Foreign Affairs Shintaro Abe, who was like Mori's older brother in the political world. Since becoming a Diet member, Mori has been deeply involved in educational policy, making it the central theme of his career, out of his belief that education nurtures people and holds the key to the future of society, the state, and the world. In 1983 he assumed the office of the Minister of Education to spearhead a national project to implement educational reforms.
Mori has also served as Minister of International Trade and Industry and Minister of Construction and has been appointed to important posts in the LDP, twice serving as the party's Secretary General--responsible for party management as a whole--as well as Chairperson of the General Council (the party's decision-making body) and Chairperson of the Policy Research Council (which determines party policies).
Mori married Chieko Maki, a fellow student at Waseda University, in 1961; they have a son, Yuki, and a daughter, Yoko. Reiko is their beloved granddaughter. Mori enjoys playing sports, such as rugby and golf. He has never been a smoker due to the teachings of his grandfather and his involvement in rugby.
Mori was elected Japan's eighty-fifth Prime Minister--the twenty-sixth person to hold the post since World War II--in elections in both houses of the Diet on April 5, 2000. He then formed a three-party coalition government of the LDP, New Komeito--Reformers' Network, and New Conservative Party.
Prime Minister Mori recognizes that the systems that supported Japan's miraculous growth after World War II are no longer in tune with the times. In order to create a new Japan for the twenty-first century, he is determined to resolutely implement various reforms for the "Rebirth of Japan." Christening his administration the "Cabinet for the Rebirth of Japan," he will strive to turn Japan into "a nation of people who live in security, embracing our dreams for the future," "a nation of beauty rich in spirit," and "a nation that engenders the trust of the world." Educational policy is one of his priority areas. Mori intends to implement necessary reforms to foster creative young men and women capable of contributing--according to their abilities--to not only Japanese society but also the international community in the twenty-first century.
Following the formation of his second cabinet on July 4, 2000, Prime Minister Mori chaired the Meeting of Heads of State and Government at the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit, held in the city of Nago, Okinawa, from July 21 to 23. There he led the wide-ranging discussions of G8 leaders, which culminated in the adoption and release of the Okinawa Charter on Global Information Society; G8 Communique Okinawa 2000; G7 Statement on the World Economy; G8 Statement on Regional Issues; and G8 Statement on Korean Peninsula.
Prime Minister Mori continues to base his economic and fiscal policies on promoting economic recovery, devoting his full energies to setting the economy on the path toward a self-sustained recovery. He aims at the rebirth of the economy by undertaking economic structural reforms quickly and boldly and formulating new economic polices centered on four areas, including the promotion of the information-technology revolution. In addition to the rebirth of the economy, he places at the heart of his administration plans for the rebirth of social security, rebirth of education, rebirth of government, and rebirth of foreign policy in endeavoring to achieve the rebirth of Japan.
Brief Personal History of Prime Minister Mori