Born Mar. 3, 1880, in Yamaguchi Prefecture; died June 27, 1946, in Tokyo. Japanese state figure and diplomat.
Matsuoka became an executive with the South Manchurian Railroad in 1921 and became its president in 1935. As minister of foreign affairs in 1940-41 he was instrumental in concluding a triple pact between Germany, Italy, and Japan on Sept. 27, 1940. He signed a Soviet-Japanese neutrality pact on Apr. 13, 1941. From the time of Germany’s attack on the USSR (1941), Matsuoka urged that Japan immediately declare war on the USSR. After Japan’s defeat in World War II (1939-45), Matsuoka was handed over to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East as a chief war criminal. He died before the end of the trial.