Masayoshi Ōhira

Masayoshi Ōhira
Masayoshi Ōhira
大平 正芳
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
7 December 1978 – 12 June 1980
Monarch Shōwa
Preceded by Takeo Fukuda
Succeeded by Masayoshi Itō (Acting)
Personal details
Born 12 March 1910(1910-03-12)
Kan'onji, Kagawa, Japan
Died 12 June 1980(1980-06-12) (aged 70)
Political party Liberal Democratic Party
Alma mater Hitotsubashi University
Religion Anglicanism

Masayoshi Ōhira (大平 正芳 Ōhira Masayoshi?, March 12, 1910 – June 12, 1980) was a Japanese politician and the 68th and 69th Prime Minister of Japan from December 7, 1978 to June 12, 1980. He is the most recent Japanese prime minister to die in office.

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

Contents

Political career

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 was elected to the presidency of the LDP in late 1978.

On December 7, 1978, he was appointed 68th Prime Minister, successfully pushing Takeo Fukuda from his position.[2]

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 November 9 of that year. On May 16, 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. Sixty-nine 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 May 31 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 Zenko Suzuki after the election.

G8 summit

In 1979, Ōhira was the chairman of the 5th G7 summit in Tokyo and its host but his fatal heart attack on June 12 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.[3]

Notes

  1. ^ Nihon Kōgyō Shinbunsha. (1979). Business Japan. Vol. 24, Nos. 10-12, p. 47.
  2. ^ Brown, James Robert. (1999). The ministry of finance, p. 199.
  3. ^ 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," New York Times. June 12, 1980.

References

Political offices
Preceded by
Zentaro Kosaka
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1962–1964
Succeeded by
Etsusaburo Shiina
Preceded by
Takeo Fukuda
Minister of Foreign Affairs
1972–1974
Succeeded by
Toshio Kimura
Prime Minister of Japan
1978–1980
Succeeded by
Masayoshi Itō
Acting
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Helmut Schmidt
Chair of the G7
1979
Succeeded by
Francesco Cossiga

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