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Masayoshi Ōhira (大平 正芳, Ōhira Masayoshi, 12 March 1910 – 12 June 1980) was a Japanese politician who was Prime Minister of Japan from 1978 to 1980. Ōhira's time in office was cut short when he died in office; he remains the most recent Japanese Prime Minister to die in office (Keizō Obuchi was removed from office on 5 April 2000 after suddenly falling into a coma, a month before his death in May 2000).

Masayoshi Ōhira
大平 正芳
Masayoshi Ohira cropped 1 Masayoshi Ohira 19781207.jpg
Masayoshi Ōhira
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
7 December 1978 – 12 June 1980
MonarchShōwa
Preceded byTakeo Fukuda
Succeeded byMasayoshi Itō
Minister of Finance
In office
16 July 1974 – 24 December 1976
Prime MinisterKakuei Tanaka
Takeo Miki
Preceded byTakeo Fukuda
Succeeded byHideo Bo
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
7 July 1972 – 16 July 1974
Prime MinisterKakuei Tanaka
Preceded byTakeo Fukuda
Succeeded byToshio Kimura
Minister of International Trade and Industry
In office
30 November 1968 – 14 January 1970
Prime MinisterEisaku Satō
Preceded byEtsusaburo Shiina
Succeeded byKiichi Miyazawa
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
18 July 1962 – 18 July 1964
Prime MinisterHayato Ikeda
Preceded byZentaro Kosaka
Succeeded byEtsusaburo Shiina
Chief Cabinet Secretary
In office
19 July 1960 – 18 July 1962
Prime MinisterHayato Ikeda
Preceded byEtsusaburo Shiina
Succeeded byYasumi Kurogane
Personal details
Born(1910-03-12)12 March 1910
Kan'onji, Kagawa, Japan
Died12 June 1980(1980-06-12) (aged 70)
Minato, Tokyo, Japan
Political partyLiberal Democratic Party
Spouse(s)Shigeko (1916–1990)
Children4
Alma materHitotsubashi University
Signature

He was born in present-day Kan'onji, Kagawa and attended Hitotsubashi University.

Contents

Political careerEdit

 
with Keith Holyoake (October 1972)
 
Masayoshi Ōhira (at Andrews Air Force Base in 1980)

At the apex of his political life, Ōhira came to represent what were known as "mainstream factions" within the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) which put him at odds with Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda, who led what were known as an "anti-mainstream" faction.[1] Ōhira served as foreign minister in the cabinet of Kakuei Tanaka until mid-July 1974.[2] In a cabinet reshuffle, he was replaced by Toshio Kimura as foreign minister.[2] Ōhira was appointed by Tanaka as finance minister in the same reshuffle and replaced Takeo Fukuda in July 1974.[2]

Ōhira was elected to the presidency of the LDP in late 1978. On 7 December 1978, he was appointed 68th Prime Minister, successfully pushing Takeo Fukuda from his position.[3]

Ōhira was the sixth Christian to hold this office after Hara Takashi, Takahashi Korekiyo, Ichirō Hatoyama, Tetsu Katayama, and Shigeru Yoshida.

In the general election of 1979, the LDP narrowly failed to win an outright majority, but enough independent members of the Diet joined the party to enable Ōhira to remain in office, and he was duly reappointed on 9 November of that year. On 16 May 1980, a vote of no confidence was held in the Diet.

Ōhira expected the motion to fail, and was visibly shaken when it passed 243–187. 69 members of his own LDP, including Fukuda, abstained. Given the choice of resigning or calling new elections, Ōhira chose the latter and began campaigning for LDP candidates. He was hospitalized for exhaustion on 31 May and died of a massive heart attack 12 days later.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Masayoshi Ito acted in Ōhira's place as deputy after his death. Yoshio Sakurauchi, the Secretary General of LDP, led the LDP to its greatest victory in fifteen years, capitalizing on the "sympathy vote" generated by Ōhira's death. The Prime Minister was succeeded by Zenkō Suzuki after the election.

G7 summitEdit

In 1979, Ōhira was the chairman and host of the 5th G7 summit in Tokyo but his fatal heart attack on 12 June happened only days before the 6th G7 summit was about to begin in Italy. Ōhira's colleague, Foreign Affairs Minister Saburo Okita, led the delegation which represented Japan in his place. Others joining Okita in traveling to the Venetian island of San Giorgio Maggiore were Finance Minister Noboru Takeshita and the head of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

ReligionEdit

Ōhira was a convert to Christianity during his time at the Takamatsu Higher School of Commerce (now the Takamatsu College of Economics), though without becoming a member of any formal Christian organization.[5][6] However, others have stated that he was a member of the Anglican Church during the 1970s.[7]

HonoursEdit

Foreign honourEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Nihon Kōgyō Shinbunsha. (1979). Business Japan. Vol. 24, Nos. 10–12, p. 47.
  2. ^ a b c "Tanaka reshuffles Japanese cabinet". Daytona Beach Morning. Tokyo. AP. 17 July 1974. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  3. ^ Brown, James Robert. (1999). The ministry of finance, p. 199.
  4. ^ Stokes, Henry Scott. "Japan's Prime Minister Ōhira Dies At 70 as a Critical Election Nears; Japan's Prime Minister Dies at 70 After Heart Attack Plans for Venice Meeting", The New York Times. 12 June 1980.
  5. ^ Choy, Lee Khoon (1995). Japan — Between Myth and Reality. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. p. 109. ISBN 981-02-1865-6. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  6. ^ Rothacher, Albrecht (1993). The Japanese Power Elite. Macmillan Press Ltd. p. 87. ISBN 978-1-349-22995-6. Retrieved 15 July 2019. Ohira as a University student later joined the 'no-church movement' and has treated his religious convictions as a private matter ever since.
  7. ^ Ikehara, Mariko (2011). Doak, Kevin M. (ed.). Xavier's Legacies: Catholicism in Modern Japanese Culture. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press. p. 108. ISBN 978-0-7748-2022-6. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  8. ^ From the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia
  9. ^ http://reinanzaka-sc.o.oo7.jp/kiroku/documents/20140523-3-kiji-list.pdf
  10. ^ "Semakan Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat".

BibliographyEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Etsusaburo Shiina
Chief Cabinet Secretary
1960–1962
Succeeded by
Yasumi Kurogane
Preceded by
Zentaro Kosaka
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1962–1964
Succeeded by
Etsusaburo Shiina
Preceded by
Etsusaburo Shiina
Minister of International Trade and Industry
1968–1970
Succeeded by
Kiichi Miyazawa
Preceded by
Takeo Fukuda
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1972–1974
Succeeded by
Toshio Kimura
Minister of Finance
1974–1976
Succeeded by
Hideo Bō
Prime Minister of Japan
1978–1980
Succeeded by
Masayoshi Itō
Acting
House of Representatives of Japan
Preceded by
Soichi Usui
Chair, Committee on Education of the House of Representatives of Japan
1959–1960
Succeeded by
Soichi Usui
Interim
Party political offices
Preceded by
Naomi Nishimura
Chair, Policy Research Committee of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan
1967–1968
Succeeded by
Ryutaro Nemoto
Preceded by
Shigesaburo Maeo
Head of Kōchikai
1971–1980
Succeeded by
Zenkō Suzuki
Preceded by
Tsuneo Uchida
Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan
1976–1978
Succeeded by
Kunikichi Saito
Preceded by
Takeo Fukuda
President of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan
1978–1980
Succeeded by
Zenkō Suzuki
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Helmut Schmidt
Chairperson of the G7
1979
Succeeded by
Francesco Cossiga