Toshiki Kaifu

Toshiki Kaifu (海部 俊樹, Kaifu Toshiki, 2 January 1931 – 9 January 2022) was a Japanese politician who served as the 77th Prime Minister of Japan from 1989 to 1991.[1]

Toshiki Kaifu
海部 俊樹
Toshiki Kaifu 19890810.jpg
Official photograph, 1989
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
10 August 1989 – 5 November 1991
Preceded bySōsuke Uno
Succeeded byKiichi Miyazawa
Member of the House of Representatives
for Aichi 9th District
In office
20 November 1960 – 21 July 2009
Succeeded byMitsunori Okamoto
Minister of Finance[citation needed]
In office
14 October 1991 – 5 November 1991[citation needed]
Preceded byRyutaro Hashimoto
Succeeded byTsutomu Hata
Minister of Education
In office
28 December 1985 – 22 July 1986[citation needed]
Prime MinisterYasuhiro Nakasone
Preceded byHikaru Matsunaga
Succeeded byMasayuki Fujio
In office
24 December 1976 – 28 November 1977[citation needed]
Prime MinisterTakeo Fukuda
Preceded byMichio Nagai
Succeeded byShigetami Sunada
Preceded bySeiroku Kajiyama
Succeeded byHyosuke Kujiraoka
Personal details
Born(1931-01-02)2 January 1931
Nagoya, Japan
Died9 January 2022(2022-01-09) (aged 91)
Tokyo, Japan
Political partyLiberal Democratic Party
(1960–1994, 2003–2022)
Other political
New Frontier Party (1994–1997)
"Assembly of Independents" (1997–1998)
Liberal Party (1998–2000)
Conservative Party (2000–2002)
New Conservative Party (2002–2003)
SpouseSachiyo Kaifu [ja]
Alma materChuo University
Waseda University

Early life and educationEdit

Kaifu was born on 2 January 1931, in Nagoya City, the eldest of six brothers. His family's business Nakamura Photo Studio was established by his grandfather in the Meiji era, and was situated next to the Matsuzakaya flagship department store.[2]

Kaifu took the exam to the Aichi Prefectural Asahigaoka Senior High School, and while of the eleven students who took the test from the same school, nine were accepted and two, including Kaifu, were not. As part of the student labor mobilization during the war, he was placed in a Mitsui Heavy Industry factory where he assembled airplane engine parts day and night. In 1945, he was accepted in the Youth Airman Academy of the Imperial Japanese Army, but the war ended before his planned enrolment in October.[2] He was then educated at Chuo University and Waseda University.[3]

On 17 November 1957 Kaifu married Saburō Yanagihara, a female assistant to Member of the House of Representatives.[2][4]


Kaifu, 5th from left with leaders of the G7 (at the 17th G7 summit on 15 July 1991)

A member of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Kaifu ran successfully for the 1960 Japanese general election and took office as the youngest member of the National Diet.[5] He served for sixteen terms, totaling 49 years.[citation needed]

Kaifu was education minister before rising to lead the party after the resignations of Takeshita Noboru and Sōsuke Uno.[6] Facing Yoshiro Hayashi and Shintaro Ishihara,[7] Kaifu was elected on the platform of clean leadership.[8][9] He became the 76th Prime Minister of Japan in August 1989.[10]

On 10 August 1991, Kaifu became the first leader of a major country to make an official visit to China and break China's diplomatic isolation after the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre.[11] Kaifu ended Japan's participation in economic sanctions against China and offered $949.9 million in loans and an additional $1.5 million in emergency aid following flood damage in southern China in June and July.[12] In 1991 he sent the Maritime Self-Defense Force to the Persian Gulf in the wake of the Gulf War.[13]

Throughout his two Cabinets, Kaifu's faction was too small to push through the reforms he sought, and the continuing repercussions of the Sagawa Express scandal caused problems. He resigned in November 1991 and was replaced by Kiichi Miyazawa.[14]

In 1994, he left the LDP to become head of the newly-founded New Frontier Party.[15][16] He supported Ichirō Ozawa's party until he returned to LDP in 2003.[17] He was defeated in the election of 2009 by DPJ candidate Mitsunori Okamoto,[18] which witnessed the end of almost uninterrupted LDP dominance since 1955.[19] At the time of his defeat, he was the longest-serving member of the lower house of the Diet, and he was also the first former prime minister to be defeated at a re-election since 1963.[20]


Kaifu was the last surviving former Japanese prime minister who had served in the 1980s. He died from pneumonia on 9 January 2022 at a Tokyo hospital, at the age of 91.[21] The announcement of his death to the media was delayed until 14 January.[22][23]


  1. ^ "Toshiki Kaifu". Inter Press Service. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Kaifu, Toshiki; 海部俊樹 (2015). Kaifu Ttoshiki kaisōroku : ware o motte inishie to nasu. Hiroki Kakimi, 垣見洋樹. pp. 30–35, 223–224. ISBN 978-4-931388-95-6. OCLC 931496864.
  3. ^ Akimoto, Daisuke (14 January 2022). "In Memory of 'Kaifu Diplomacy' During the Gulf War Turmoil". The Diplomat. Retrieved 16 January 2022.
  4. ^ Kaifu, Toshiki; 海部俊樹 (2010). Seiji to kane : Kaifu Toshiki kaikoroku. Shinchōsha. pp. 38–39. ISBN 978-4-10-610394-0. OCLC 682540758.
  5. ^ Wiseman, Steven R. (9 August 1989). "Japan's Troubled Successor". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  6. ^ Yates, Ronald E. (9 August 1989). "New Prime Minister elected in Japan". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  7. ^ Jameson, Sam (5 August 1989). "2 More Join Race for Japanese Premier : Ex-Ministers of Transportation, Health Also Seek to Succeed Uno". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Japanese official quits over affair". The New York Times. Associated Press. 25 August 1989. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  9. ^ Hiatt, Fred (3 March 1990). "Japan's Kaifu faces new hints of scandal". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ Pringsheim, Klaus H. (1991). "The Political Ordeal of Toshiki Kaifu (1990–1991)". American Foreign Policy Newsletter. 14 (3): 3–17. doi:10.1080/07383169.1991.10392623.
  11. ^ "Japanese Prime Minister Meets With China's Communist Leader". Associated Press. 12 August 1991. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu departs Saturday for Beijing to..." UPI. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Ex-Japan PM Kaifu, who dispatched SDF to Persian Gulf, dies at 91".
  14. ^ Jameson, Sam (2 February 1992). "Miyazawa's Party Faction Chief Indicted". Los Angeles Times. Tokyo. Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  15. ^ "New party taps". Sun Sentinel. 9 December 1994. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Ex-premier to head new Japanese party". The Washington Post. 8 December 1994. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  17. ^ Dobson, Hugo; Rose, Caroline (2019). "The Afterlives of Post-War Japanese Prime Ministers". Journal of Contemporary Asia. 49 (1): 127–150. doi:10.1080/00472336.2018.1460389.
  18. ^ Murakami, Mutsuko (1 September 2009). "Untested New Regime Raises Fresh Hopes". Inter Press Service. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  19. ^ Maeda, Ko (September–October 2010). "Factors behind the Historic Defeat of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party in 2009". Asian Survey. 50 (5): 888–907. doi:10.1525/as.2010.50.5.888.
  20. ^ "Several LDP bigwigs sent down to defeat". The Japan Times. Kyodo News. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  22. ^ "海部俊樹元首相が死去 91歳". NHK. 14 January 2022. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  23. ^ "Former Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu dies at 91". 14 January 2022.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by Director of Youth Division, Liberal Democratic Party[citation needed]
Succeeded by
Takasaburo Naito
Preceded by
Takasaburo Naito
Director of Youth Division, Liberal Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chair of Diet Affairs Committee, Liberal Democratic Party[citation needed]
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Liberal Democratic Party[citation needed]
Succeeded by
New title Leader of the New Frontier Party
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary[citation needed]
Succeeded by
Hyosuke Kujiraoka
Preceded by
Michio Nagai
Minister of Education[citation needed]
Succeeded by
Shigetami Sunada
Preceded by Minister of Education[citation needed]
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Japan
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Finance[citation needed]
Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Kazuo Tanikawa
Youngest member of the House of Representatives[citation needed]
Succeeded by