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Junichiro Koizumi

Junichiro KoizumiJunichiro Koizumi was Born in Yokosuka, Kanagawa prefecture on January 8, 1942. He is a Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 2001 to 2006. Koizumi is a third-generation politician. His father, Junya Koizumi, was director general of the Japan Defense Agency and a member of the Diet. His grandfather, Koizumi Matajiro, was Minister of Posts and Telecommunications under Prime Ministers Hamaguchi and Wakatsuki and an early advocate of postal privatization. He retired from politics when his term in parliament ended.

Widely seen as a maverick leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), he became known as an economic reformer, focusing on Japan’s government debt and the privatization of its postal service. In 2005, Koizumi led the LDP to win one of the largest parliamentary majorities in modern Japanese history.

Koizumi also attracted international attention through his deployment of the Japan Self-Defense Forces to Iraq, the first foreign deployment of the Japanese military since World War II. His visits to Yasukuni Shrine led to diplomatic tensions with neighboring China and South Korea.

Koizumi is the only Prime Minister to have served more than five years in office since 1972; his successors have not been able to keep the office for more than one year.

Early life

Koizumi was educated at Yokosuka High School and Keio University, where he studied economics. He attended University College London before returning to Japan in August 1969 upon the death of his father.

He stood for election to the lower house in December; however, he did not earn enough votes to win election as a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) representative. In 1970, he was hired as a secretary to Takeo Fukuda, who was Minister of Finance at the time and was elected as Prime Minister in 1976.

In the general elections of December 1972, Koizumi was elected as a member of the Lower House for the Kanagawa 11th district. He joined Fukuda’s faction within the LDP. Since then, he has been re-elected ten times.

Personal Life

Koizumi married 21-year-old university student Kayoko Miyamoto in 1978. The marriage ended in divorce in 1982, as Kayoko was reportedly unhappy with her married life for several reasons. After this divorce, Koizumi never married again. Koizumi had custody of two of his three sons: Kotaro Koizumi and Shinjiro Koizumi, who were reared by one of his sisters. Shinjiro is the representative for Kanagawa’s 11th district, a position his father has also filled. The youngest son, Yoshinaga Miyamoto, now a graduate of Keio University, was born following the divorce and has never met Koizumi.

Koizumi is a fan of Richard Wagner, the Japanese band X Japan and has released a CD of his favorite pieces by contemporary Italian composer Ennio Morricone. Koizumi is also a noted fan of Elvis Presley, with whom he shares a birthday (January 8). In 2001 he released a collection of his favorite Elvis songs on CD, with his comments about each song.

Koizumi was at certain points in his tenure an extremely popular leader. Most people know him very well due to his trademark wavy grey hair. His outspoken nature and colourful past contributed to that; his nicknames included “Lionheart”, due to his hair style and fierce spirit, and “Maverick”.

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