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Takeo Fukuda

Takeo Fukuda

Japanese politician and the 67th prime minister of japan
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Japanese politician and the 67th prime minister of japan
Countries Japan
Occupations Politician
Gender male
Birth January 14, 1905 (Gunma Prefecture, Japan)
Death July 5, 1995 (Tokyo, Japan)
Siblings: Hiroichi Fukuda
Spouse: Mie Fukuda
Children: Yasuo Fukuda
Education University of Tokyo
The details

Takeo Fukuda (福田 赳夫, Fukuda Takeo, 14 January 1905 – 5 July 1995) was a Japanese politician and the 42nd Prime Minister of Japan (67th administration) from 24 December 1976 to 7 December 1978.

Early life and education

Fukuda was born in Gunma, capital of the Gunma Prefecture on 14 January 1905. He hailed from a former Samurai family and his father was mayor of Gunma. He held a law degree from University of Tokyo.


Before and during World War II, Fukuda served as a bureaucrat in the Finance Ministry and as Chief Cabinet Secretary. After the war, he became director of Japan's banking bureau from 1946 to 1947 and of budget bureau from 1947 to 1950.

In 1952, Fukuda was elected to the House of Representatives representing the third district of Gunma. Fukuda's political mentor was Nobusuke Kishi, who was detained as a Class A war criminal after World War II and later became prime minister.

Fukuda was elected party secretary in 1957 and served as Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (1959–69), Minister of Finance (1969–71), Minister of Foreign Affairs (1971–73), and Director of the Economic Planning Agency (1974–76). He was a candidate for prime minister in 1972 but lost to Kakuei Tanaka.

Fukuda (second from left) during the G7 meeting in 1978

He took over the presidency of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from Takeo Miki after the party's poor showing in the 1976 election. It remained in office until 1978, but relied on the support of minor parties to maintain a parliamentary majority. Although he was regarded as a conservative and a hawk on foreign policies, Fukuda drew international criticism when he caved in to the demands of a group of terrorists who hijacked Japan Airlines Flight 472, saying "Jinmei wa chikyū yori omoi (The value of a human life outweighs the Earth)."

In an effort to end the LDP's faction system, Fukuda introduced primary elections within the party. In the first primary towards the end of 1978, he was beaten by Masayoshi Ōhira for the presidency of the LDP, and forced to resign as Prime Minister. Fukuda was later instrumental in the formation of the Inter Action Council. He retired from politics in 1990.

Personal life

Fukuda was married and had five children: three sons and two daughters. His eldest son, Yasuo Fukuda, after the sudden resignation of Shinzō Abe, became Prime Minister in September 2007, and remained in that office for one year, making him the first son of a Japanese prime minister to become a prime minister himself. In addition, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi began his political career as a secretary to Fukuda, and the two were very close in their political and personal lives from the 1970s onward (Fukuda was the best man at Koizumi's wedding).


Fukuda died of chronic emphysema in the hospital of Tokyo Women's Medical College on 5 July 1995 at the age of 90.


  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum (July 1995; posthumous)
  • Golden Pheasant Award of the Scout Association of Japan (1979)
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