Prime Minister (総理) 9/06/2006-8/26/2007
The Abe administration faced numerous challenges from the moment it took office. In October, North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon, shaking the political scene in Northeast Asia. However, events in within the cabinet shook politics as well. Further right on the political spectrum than Koizumi, statements made by both Abe and his ministers sparked anger in the region and within Japan itself. Notable comments include remarks by Health Minister Yanagizawa calling women "baby-making machines," and remarks by Foreign Minister Aso and Abe himself concerning comfort women in World War Two. Through his first cabinet, Abe did not visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine as his predecessor KOIZUMI Junichiro did. Such moves led to limited improvement in realtions with neighbors China and Korea, but such progress was not enough to prevent a massive defeat for his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) at the House of Councillors election in the summer of 2007.
Minister of Internal Affairs/ Post /Telecommunications (総務・・郵便・通信）
Suga graduated from Hosei University in 1973 with a degree in law. Two years later he started as secretary to Diet Representative OKONOGI Hikosaburo, then worked on his staff through Okonogi's term as Minisister of International Trade and Industry in 1984. Suga's own political career started in 1987 as a Yokohama City Councilman, then continued in 1996 when he won his own Diet seat. Under the Koizumi administration he served in a number of capacities including Asst. Secretary General of the LDP and Parliamentary Secretary for both the Ministries of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, and International Trade and Industry. Soga is noted for having considerable political skills and connections, though unlike many Japanese politicians, he has no family background in politics.
Minister of Justice (法務）
Nagase entered Japan's labor ministry immediately after graduating from Tokyo University in 1966. He worked in the Ministry until 1988 after working his way up to the head of Labor Relations Bureau, Labor Legislation Division. In 1990 he was elected to his first Diet seat and in 1996 he became director of the Environment Division for the LDP. After a host of other positions, he worked as Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary in the 3rd and final Koizumi administration.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (外務）
In the competition for the LDP presidency in 2006, Aso came up short. Aso is a long-time veteran of the LDP and of the second and third Koizumi Administrations. For the first Abe administration Aso steps in to serve as Foreign Minister. Though he pushed for better relations with China and Korea, his comments denying the Japanese Government's role in sexual slavery during World War Two did little to advance this goal
Minister of Finance (財務）
From Gumma Prefecture, Koji entered politics via a career in MITI which spanned from his graduation from Hitotsubashi University in 1956 until 1982. During that time he served as Consul in New York City from 1970-1974. From his election to the Diet in 1983, he slowly worked his way up the LDP hierarchy. His first ministerial post came in 1997 for the Hashimoto Administration as Minister of state for Economic Planning, then second and third posts in the Koizumi Admistration as Minsiter of state for Okinawa and the Northern Territories, as well as for Science and Technology Policy. He left to work within the LDP on science and technology issues. Immediately prior to this posting, he Chaired the LDP's research committe on Oil, Resources, and Energy.
Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (文部科学）
Leader of the faction which bears his name, Ibuki is a considerable influence in Japanese politics. Upon his graduation from Kyoto University in 1960, Ibuki entered the Ministry of Finance. His 222-year career saw postings in London as Secretary to the Finance Minister in 1982. The following year marked his entry into parliamentary politics from Kyoto's District 1 and his first ministerial post came in 1997 as Labor Minister. 2000 saw him become Minister of State for National Emergency Legislation and Disaster Management. Immediately prior to this posting he Chaired the Working Group of Research of the Tax System for the LDP.
Minister of Health, Labour, and Welfare (厚生労働）
The most notable mark made by Yanagisawa in the Abe Cabinet was his 1/29/2007 reference to Women as "birth-giving devices" which led to un-heeded calls for his resignation. His carreer path up to this point was fairly typical. A Tokyo University and Ministry of Finance alumnus, he served as secretary to Chief Cabinet Secretary TANAKA Rokusuke in 1978 under the Oohirai administration. He was elected to the Diet came in 1980 and First cabinet position in 1998 as Minister of State for the National Land Agency. In the first Koizumi Administration he served as Minister of State for Financial Services and upon leaving that post he acted as Chair of the Research Commission on the Tax System for the LDP.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (農林水）
A 1969 graduate of Tottori University with a degree in forestry, Matsuzawa entered the Ministry of Forestry, Agriculture, and Fisheries. Over his carreer he worked in the Ministerial Planning section, and headed a number of branches throughout the country. He was fist elected to the Diet in 1990 from Kumamoto prefecture as an independent. In 1999 as vice-minister of AFF, he was noted for his participation in WTO negotiations. Discovery of and resulting scandal over the handling of facilities funds in 2007 led to Matsuzawa's suicide and replacement by WAKABAYASHI Masatoshi.
Minister of Economy Trade and Industry (経済産業）
Amari Graduated from Keio university in 1972 then soon took a position at Sony. Two years later he quit to become secretary to his father Tadashi, then a Diet member for Kanagawa prefecture. In 1983 he stood in his father's place and was elected to his first seat in the Diet. 1998 marked his first cabinet position as Labor Minister with the Obuchi cabinet. In 2005 he served as Acting Chairman of the Policy Research Council for the LDP before assuming this position. Issues he took the lead on during his carreer include Intellectual Property Rights, including those for music, movies, and literature (contents).
Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport/in charge of Tourism, and Ocean Policy （国土交通）
Fuyushiba graduated with a law degree from Kansai University in 1960, was admitted to the bar in 1961, then employed by the Midosuji Law Firm in 1964. He was first elected to the Diet in 1986 from the Komei Party. In 2002 he assumed the position of Secretary General of the same party. Challenges in this administration included the 2007 Chuuetsu-Oki Earthquake.
Minister of Environment, in Charge of the Climate Change Problem
Though initially appointed to the post of Minister of Environment, Wakabayashi moved to Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries after Matsuzawa's suicide in 2007. A 1962 graduate of Tokyo University, Wakabayashi entered MAFF. After a series of leadership posts there he resigned his post, then ran for election to the Diet in 1983. He lost this seat in 1990, but in 1993 won his seat back, but lost again in 1996. In 1998 he took a seat in the national Upper House (House of Councillors). From that time to his appointment to this post, he chaired a number of HC committees on topics ranging from privacy to elctoral and constitutional reform.
Chief Cabinet Secretary/Minister of State for the Abduction Issue (官房長官・拉致問題担当）
Posessing degrees from both Tokyo University and Harvard's JFK School of Government, Shiozaki's first work experience was with the Bank of Japan in 1975. He worked briefly as his father's secretary while the elder Shiozaki was Minister for economic planning. In 1993 he was elected to the Diet from Ehime Prefecture. In 2000 he chaired the LDP Foreign Affairs Division, in 2005 he served as Vice-minister for Foreign affairs.
Minister of State/ National Public Safety Commission Chair/Disaster Prevention (国家公安委員会長・防災）
A 1966 Graduate of Tokyo University, Mozote Joined Fuji Steel (later Nippon Steel) that same year. He would later enter the Koyo shipyard corporation, working his way up through the company to become its president in 1979. He served as Mayor of his native Mihara City in Hiroshima Prefecture. In 1993 Mozote was elected to his first seat in the House of Councillors from that same prefecture. He worked his way up through a series of committees. In 1997 he served as Vice-Minister of Trade and Industry.
Minister of Defense
Kyuma entered the Ministiry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries upon his graduation from Tokyo University in 1964. In 1971 he started his electoral career in the Nagasaki prefectural assembly, then in 1980 was elected to the Diet from that same prefecture. He seved as head of Japan's defense Agency in 1997 and with this post, he became the first full Minister of Defense in Japan's post-war history. Kyuma was forced to resign in 2007 due to remarks concerning the Second Bush Administration's handling of the Iraq War, and the use of the atom bomb in World War Two. He was replaced by KOIKE Yuriko.
Minister of State Okinawa/Northern Territories, Declining Birthrate
A 1984 Graduate of Kobe University, Takaichi worked in political consulting briefly, then took advantage of a fellowship to work with US Democratic House Member Pat Schroeder in 1987. 1993 saw her elected to her first Diet seat and she rose quickly through the ranks of the LDP. She was appointed Vice-Minister for International Trade and Industry. In 2004 She worked on the Economics Faculty at Kinki University before returning to serve as head of the LDP Information Research Bureau in 2005.
Minister of Financial Services
Yamamoto graduated from Waseda University in 1977 the passed the bar exam in 1980. After practicing law, then serving in his native Kouchi's prefectural assembly, Yamamoto was elected to the Diet in 1990. He served as a Vice-Minister for Justice in the Obuchi and Mori administrations in 2000, then as Senior Vice-Minister of Finance in the Koizumi Administration in 2003.
Minister of State for Financial Services Economic and Fiscal Policy (経済財政）
A graduate from Hitotsubashi University, Oota worked at Japan's Institute of Life Insuracnce and universities before becoming Director of Policy Analysis in the Cabinet office during the first Koizumi administration. From 2004 to 2005, she took the position of Director of Economic Research in the Cabinet office.
Minister of State for Regulatory Reform (行政・規制改革）
Sata graduated from Hokkaido University with a degree in construction in 1975, then found employment with the Tekken Construction Company. His first political post came in 1990. In 2002 he served as Vice-Minister for Internal Affairs. In 2006 he was forced to resign from this post amid allegations of mishandling funds. His replacement was WATANABE Yoshimi