Hitoshi Ashida (芦田 均, Ashida Hitoshi, 15 November 1887 – 20 June 1959) was a Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan in 1948. He was a prominent figure in the immediate postwar political landscape, but was forced to resign his leadership responsibilities after a corruption scandal (Shōwa Denkō Jiken) targeting two of his cabinet ministers.
|Prime Minister of Japan|
10 March 1948 – 15 October 1948
|Preceded by||Tetsu Katayama|
|Succeeded by||Shigeru Yoshida|
|Born||15 November 1887|
|Died||20 June 1959 (aged 71)|
|Political party||Liberal Democratic Party (1955–1959)|
|Rikken Seiyūkai (Before 1945)|
Liberal Party (1945–1947)
Democratic Party (1947–1950)
National Democratic Party (1950–1952)
Japan Democratic Party (1954–1955)
|Alma mater||Tokyo Imperial University|
Early political lifeEdit
In 1932, Ashida ran his first successful campaign for a seat in the House of Representatives as a member of the Seiyūkai Party. He sided with Ichirō Hatoyama's "orthodox" wing following the Seiyukai's split in 1939.
After the war, Ashida won a seat in the new Diet as a member of the Liberal Party, from which he split to merge with Kijūrō Shidehara's Progressive Party to form the Democratic Party. Ashida was elected president of the new party, and became Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1947 under Socialist prime minister Tetsu Katayama.
He also chaired the Committee on the Bill for Revision of the Imperial Constitution, and served as the chairman of the Kenpō Fukyū Kai, a society created to promote the revised Constitution of Japan, from 1946–1948. During his term, he made a key amendment to Article Nine of the planned Japanese Constitution, which enabled the creation of the Japanese Self-Defense Force.
Prime minister and later lifeEdit
Ashida became prime minister in 1948, leading a coalition government of Democratic and Socialist members. His tenure ended just seven months after it began. Two of his cabinet ministers were accused of corruption in the Showa Electric scandal, which forced the cabinet to resign.
Ten years later, in 1958, Ashida was cleared of all charges in relation to the incident. He died a year later at the age of seventy-one.
- "Alfred Hussey, Memorandum on Program for Publicizing the new Japanese Constitution, February 5, 1947". Birth of the Japanese Constitution. National Diet Library of Japan. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- "The Constitution of Japan (The Official Gazettes, a Special Edition)". World Digital Library. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- Fumiko Sasaki (26 July 2012). Nationalism, Political Realism and Democracy in Japan: The thought of Masao Maruyama. Routledge. p. 136. ISBN 978-1-136-31378-3. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- Masaru Kōno (1997). Japan's postwar party politics. Princeton University Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-691-01596-5. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- Media related to Hitoshi Ashida at Wikimedia Commons