Aso, Taro

Aso, Taro

(tä`rō ä`sō), 1940–, Japanese politician, prime minister of Japan (2008–9). Grandson of Prime Minister Shigeru YoshidaYoshida, Shigeru
, 1878–1967, Japanese statesman. He was until 1954 the most powerful political figure in postwar Japan. He was ambassador to Italy (1930–32) and to Great Britain (1936–39).
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 and son of a successful industrialist, he attended Gakushuin Univ. (grad. 1963), Stanford, and the Univ. of London. He subsequently joined the family cement business, leaving it in 1979 after his election to the Diet's lower house. A conservative, a nationalist, and a member of the Liberal Democratic partyLiberal Democratic party
(LDP), Japanese political party. It began as the conservative Liberal party, which, under Shigeru Yoshida, became the dominant political force in Japan following World War II. In 1955 the Liberals merged with the newly created Democratic party.
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 (LDP), Aso rose in the party ranks, held various governmental offices, and served (2005–7) as foreign minister under Junichiro KoizumiKoizumi, Junichiro
, 1942–, Japanese political leader, b. Yokosuka. From a political family, he studied economics at Keio Univ. (grad. 1967). He entered politics in 1970 as a member of the Liberal Democratic party (LDP), and two years later was elected to the Diet.
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 and Shinzo AbeAbe, Shinzo
, 1954–, Japanese political leader. The son and grandson of politicians (his grandfather was Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi), he served as secretary to his father and succeeded to his father's seat in the Diet in 1993.
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. In 2008, after Prime Minister Yasuo FukudaFukuda, Yasuo
, 1936–, Japanese politician. Son of ex-prime minister (1976–78) Takeo Fukuda, he attended Waseda Univ. (grad. 1959) and worked for an oil company for 17 years.
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 resigned, he became leader of the LDP and prime minister; Aso was the first Roman Catholic to hold the office. He advocated increased public spending and tax cuts to aid Japan's faltering economy as well as close ties with the United States and an assertive foreign policy, but he was hurt politically by a series of policy stumbles and an economic recession. In 2009 the LDP suffered landslide losses in the Diet, and Aso resigned. He was named finance minister and deputy prime minister in Abe's second government in 2012, and continued in the post after the 2014 and 2017 elections.
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