Perhaps my interest in politics can be traced as far back as 1968. Although I was only eleven-years-old at the time, I vividly remember seeing my father, Shintaro Ishihara, make his first television appearance as a newly elected Member of the House of Councillors. As I listened to my father discuss his policy initiatives, I began to grasp the tremendous honor and responsibility associated with serving as an elected official. In the ensuing years, my admiration for politicians and fascination with public service continued to grow.

Following my graduation from Keio University in 1981, I started working as a political reporter for Nippon Television Network Corporation (NTV). This job provided a unique introduction to the inner-workings of Japanese politics and began to stir my interest in eventually pursuing a political career of my own. At this point in life, however, I intended to enjoy a lengthy career in journalism before pursuing elected office.

Within eight years of accepting my job at NTV, my professional path took an unexpected turn. During an April 1989 press conference, Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita resigned amid revelations he had accepted illegal stock and cash contributions from a marketing and information firm. I immediately recognized that this scandal would not only damage the government's reputation abroad, but would also cause many Japanese to lose faith in their country's politicians. Before the press conference's end, I decided to help reverse these negative trends by seeking elected office.

When I told my wife, Risa, about my sudden change of heart, she reminded me of a statement I made prior to our wedding two years earlier: "I won't even consider becoming a politician until I am much, much older." Many of my friends shared Risa's reservations and suggested I wait until my father retired so I could run in his election district, Shinagawa Ward. Skeptical about the merits of "inheriting" one's voting district, however, I preferred to seek elected office by utilizing my own political skills and policy initiatives.

In the winter of 1990, I began campaigning as a candidate for a Lower House seat in Tokyo's 4th District (Nakano, Shibuya, and Suginami). Recognizing the importance of establishing personal relationships with voters, I began visiting the district's stations, shopping centers, and street corners. I introduced myself to as many people as possible and handed out business cards. More importantly, I listened to the voters' comments, fielded their questions, and shared with them my vision for Japan. Eventually, the weeks of campaigning came to a close, the election results were tallied, and my dream of serving in the Japanese Diet became a reality.

Since entering the House of Representatives (HR), I have focused on championing issues of importance to my constituents. Foremost among these issues is the economy. In order to deal effectively with every issue from healthcare to the environment, a politician must possess a firm grasp of economic principles. The truth of this dictum became even more apparent during the early 1990s. After almost fifty years of astounding expansion, Japan's economy suddenly slipped into a slump that persists today. Consequently, economic questions have dominated Japanese politics for roughly two decades.

Due to my interest in economic issues, I have served on various HR and LDP committees dealing with finance, taxes, international trade, commerce, and industry. These committees have provided a platform from which to advocate comprehensive tax reform, trade liberalization, and smaller government. In 2001, I put my economic views into print by co-authoring The Total Plan for Reviving Japan's Economy (Nihon Keizai Kishi Kaisai Totaru Puran). Along with fellow Diet Members Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Takumi Nemoto, and Yoshimi Watanabe, I argued that Japan should establish an approximately $100 billion, government-subsidized "Survival Fund" to purchase the private sector's mountain of bad debt.

On April 26, 2001, Prime Minister Koizumi called and asked me to serve as Minister of State for Administrative and Regulatory Reform. After overcoming my initial surprise, I gladly accepted his offer to join the Cabinet. Without a break, on September 22, 2003, I was named the Minister of Land,Infrastructure,Transport and Tourism. Despite the additional responsibilities associated with my ministerial posts, I did not lose sight of my duty as a Diet Member. On the contrary, I have tried to transform my Cabinet experience into more effective leadership for the citizens of Japan.


1957   Born on April 19 in Kanagawa Prefecture
1976   Graduated from Keio High School
1978   Studied at Elmira College, New York
1981   Graduated from Keio University
Political Reporter, Nippon Television Network Corporation
1990   Elected to the House of Representatives (HR)
1993   Reelected to the HR
Director, Committee on Finance (HR)
1994   Director, Treasury and Finance Division (LDP)
Director, Special Committee on Consumer Affairs (HR)
1996   Reelected to the HR
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for International Trade and Industry
1997   Director, Committee on Commerce and Industry (HR)
1998   Director, Committee on Environment (HR)
2000   Reelected to the HR
2001   Minister of State for Administrative and Regulatory Reform,
Cabinet Office
2003   Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Promotion
Reelected to the HR
2004   Chairman, Research Commission on the Finance and Banking Systems (LDP)
Deputy Chairman, Research Commission on the Tax System (LDP)
2005   Reelected to the HR
Chairman, Research Commission on Highways (LDP)
Chairman, Federation of Tokyo Metropolitan Liberal Democratic Party Branches (LDP)
Chairman, Committee on Judicial Affairs (HR)
2006   Acting Secretary-General (LDP)
Chairman, Headquarters for Party Reform Implementation (LDP)
Director, Committee on Discipline (HR)
2007   Chairman, Research Commission (LDP)
2008   General Council (LDP)
Committee on Fundamental National Policies (HR)
Committee on Audit and Oversight of Administration (HR)
2009   Acting Secretary-General (LDP)
Reelected to the HR
2010   Secretary-General (LDP)
Chairman, Federation of Tokyo
Metropolitan LDP Branches
2012   Reelected to the HR
Minister of the Environment
Minister of State for the Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
2014   Chairman, Research Commission on Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise and Small Business (LDP)
Reelected to the HR
2016   Minister for Economic Revitalization, Total Reform of Social Security and Tax, and Economic and Fiscal Policy

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