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Shōichi Nakagawa

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Shōichi Nakagawa
中川 昭一
68th Minister of Finance
In office
24 September 2008 – 17 February 2009
Prime MinisterTarō Asō
Preceded byBunmei Ibuki
Succeeded byKaoru Yosano
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
In office
31 October 2005 – 26 September 2006
Prime MinisterJunichiro Koizumi
Preceded byMineichi Iwanaga
Succeeded byToshikatsu Matsuoka
In office
30 July 1998 – 5 October 1999
Prime MinisterKeizo Obuchi
Preceded byYoshinobu Shimamura
Succeeded byTokuichiro Tamazawa
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
In office
22 September 2003 – 31 October 2005
Prime MinisterJunichiro Koizumi
Preceded byTakeo Hiranuma
Succeeded byToshihiro Nikai
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
19 December 1983 – 21 July 2009
Succeeded byTomohiro Ishikawa
ConstituencyHokkaido-11th (1996–2009)
Hokkaido-5th (1983–1996)
Personal details
Born(1953-07-19)19 July 1953
Tokyo, Japan
Died4 October 2009(2009-10-04) (aged 56)
Tokyo, Japan
Political partyLiberal Democratic Party
(m. 1982)
Alma materUniversity of Tokyo

Shōichi Nakagawa (中川 昭一, Nakagawa Shōichi, 19 July 1953 – 3 October 2009) was a Japanese conservative politician in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), who served as Minister of Finance from 24 September 2008 to 17 February 2009. He previously held the posts of Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in the cabinet of Junichiro Koizumi. He was regarded as one of Japan's most attractive public figures.[1] On 4 October 2009, he was found dead in his Tokyo apartment. The cause of his death is yet to be determined; although no suicide note was found, there was also no indication of foul play.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Nakagawa was born in Tokyo on 19 July 1953 and attended Azabu High School, graduated from the law faculty of the University of Tokyo and entered the Industrial Bank of Japan in 1978.[3] His father, Ichiro Nakagawa, was a prominent Hokkaidō politician who committed suicide in 1983.[4] The younger Nakagawa was elected to the Japanese House of Representatives in the same year.[4]

Political career[edit]

In 1998, Nakagawa became Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries under Prime Minister Keizō Obuchi, and in 2003, he became Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry in the cabinet of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. He served as Agriculture Minister from October 2005 to September 2006, when incoming prime minister Shinzō Abe appointed Nakagawa as chairman of the Policy Research Council of the LDP.

In December 2006, Kyodo News Agency quoted Nakagawa as having said the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were "truly unforgivable on humanitarian grounds" and reported the politician's concerns over the possession of nuclear weapons by North Korea.[5]

Discussing Market Access of US beef and the Doha Round. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer and Shoichi Nakagawa, Parliamentary Member, Liberal Democratic Party, Japan discuss market access of US beef and the Doha Round, 2 May 2008

Nakagawa's views were close to those of Abe. In particular, both support nationalism in history education, a hard-line stance regarding North Korea and constitutional amendments. Abe has made efforts to relink ties with neighbouring China, while Nakagawa officially voiced his concern over the country's growing military expenditure, claiming that, were the situation in Taiwan to deteriorate, Japan would become, by 2020, a Chinese colony.[6] Despite the fact that most of mainstream conservative LDP politicians are usually known for their persistent pro-Americanism, Nakagawa was especially known for his pro-Taiwanism in Japan.[7]

On 6 January 2007, in an interview with a reporter from the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, Nakagawa stated "Women have their proper place: they should be womanly ... They have their own abilities and these should be fully exercised, for example in flower arranging, sewing, or cooking. It's not a matter of good or bad, but we need to accept reality that men and women are genetically different". The paper's Editorial Information Executive could not confirm the source of this information because of the age of the article.

On 2 May 2008, Nakagawa had a discussion about market access of US beef and the Doha Round with Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer.

In the Cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso, appointed on 24 September 2008, Nakagawa was appointed as Minister of Finance and Minister of State in charge of Financial Services.[8] He was defeated in his constituency in the 2009 general election.[4]

Contribution to IMF[edit]

Shōichi Nakagawa with Timothy F. Geithner, United States Secretary of the Treasury (Rome, 13 February 2009)

On 10 October 2008, at G7 Nakagawa proposed in Washington a new emergency International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan program to help emerging and small economies such as Iceland, Brazil, Ukraine and Pakistan. The total size of the loans could be about US$200 billion (about 20 trillion yen) In some newly emerging economies and small and medium European countries, total assets in domestic financial institutions far exceed the national gross domestic products and those governments might be unable to raise necessary funds to help failing financial institutions through measures such as nationalisation. "Nakagawa plan" eased the concerns of small countries and emerging markets and reduced tension in international financial markets.[9][10][11]

Shōichi Nakagawa with Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, IMF (Rome, 14 February 2009)

On 14 February 2009, Strauss-Kahn stated 'This commitment is the single-largest supplemental financing contribution by an IMF member country ever, and it clearly demonstrates Japan's leadership and continuing commitment to a multilateral approach to global economic and financial challenges.' Strauss-Kahn said he hoped other countries would join Japan in providing support to the 185-nation institution.[12] Prime Minister Taro Aso told Japan was ready to lend up to $100 billion from our foreign reserves to the IMF if it finds itself with insufficient funds to help emergency economies. Nikkei Business Daily reported that selling U.S. government bonds held by Japan to provide cash to the IMF would affect U.S. bond yields so Tokyo may consider lending U.S. government bonds to the IMF as collateral for it to raise funds.

In a communiqué, G-7 ministers committed to acting jointly to support world growth and employment and strengthen the financial sector, while avoiding protectionism. The ministers met as the U.S. Senate voted in favor of a $787 billion economic stimulus plan—clearing the way for it to be signed into law by President Barack Obama. Strauss-Kahn emphasized "The biggest concrete result of this summit is the loan by the Japanese.... I want to thank the Japanese for having led the way.... Now I will continue with the objective of doubling the (IMF) resources," he told reporters. "It is the largest loan ever made in the history of humanity." Loans were made to a number of economies affected by the crisis, including Belarus, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Pakistan, Serbia, and Ukraine. It announced a precautionary loan for El Salvador last month and an IMF team has also been in negotiations with Turkey.[13][14]

Stance on the comfort women issue[edit]

Affiliated to the openly revisionist organization Nippon Kaigi,[15] Nakagawa expressed in July 1998 his skepticism about the fact that many schools in Japan taught about forced "comfort women" by the Japanese military during the World War II in history textbooks claiming that there was no evidence that the Japanese government and military were directory involved in recruiting or forcing women to work in the brothels.

"We admit that there were comfort women who traveled with the military," Nakagawa said. "Poverty and other issues were behind this development, which is quite tragic and sad. It's a sad fact that similar phenomena existed in other parts of the world, including the U.S."[16]

Nakagawa had an opposing position to Yōhei Kōno's statement that the Japanese government was directly involved in recruiting and forcing "comfort women" to work in the brothels. He stated in a radio program that he wouldn't acknowledge Kōno's statement as long as the current Japanese government concealed what he thought to be the truth. He added that Kōno had a masochistic view of history and that other countries would even fake their pride for their own countries. He suggested the government amend or withdraw Kōno's statement about "comfort women" immediately.

Alcohol controversy[edit]

Nakagawa had been known for his extremely heavy drinking since a young age. A Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (Japan) bureaucrat, who was a fellow of Nakagawa's, witnessed Nakagawa drunk frequently, especially before hosting big political conferences.[17]

During the G7 meeting of finance ministers in Rome on 14 February 2009, where he signed an agreement to lend an extra $100 billion to the IMF that was described as the "largest loan ever made in the history of humanity",[18] Nakagawa was seen to be slurring his words.[19] Nakagawa claimed that his drowsiness and slurred speech were the result of taking too much cold medicine before the meeting. In "Who Governs The World", a book published in February 2010 by Takahiko Soejima, he suggest there were more than three people involved in this incident. Despite calls for his resignation by opposition parties at the time, Nakagawa did not immediately resign; Prime Minister Taro Aso supported him and called for him to continue his duties as Finance Minister.[20] However, on 17 February, Nakagawa announced that he had chosen to resign, and his resignation was accepted by Prime Minister Aso that evening.[21]


Shōichi Nakagawa died on 3 October 2009, aged 56 at his home in Tokyo. Japanese media reports said his body was found face down on the bed by his wife, with no external injuries.[22][23][24][25][26][27] She alerted ambulance services at approximately 8:30 am.[28] His death had taken place at least eight hours previously.[23][29][30] An investigation was done to determine the cause of death.[31][32] An autopsy was planned to determine the cause of death. A will has not been located.[27][29] Taro Aso, the former Japanese Prime Minister, was rendered speechless by the news: "I am so deeply shocked that I have no words."[1][33] Hirohisa Fujii, his successor as Finance Minister, also commented: "I want to express my heartfelt condolences. He was doing a fine job as a finance minister, so it is regrettable."[34] The Sydney Morning Herald said his death had "sent a shock wave throughout the nation."[30]

After his death, his widow Yūko Nakagawa ran for his old seat in the 2012 election, which she won and held until 2017.[35]


  1. ^ a b "Japan: Nakagawa found". iafrica. 4 October 2009. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  2. ^ "Disgraced ex-minister found dead". The Standard. 5 October 2009. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  3. ^ "Shoichi Nakagawa, Minister of Finance". FCCJ. 21 November 2008. Archived from the original on 12 March 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Ryall, Julian (4 October 2009). "Former Japanese minister Shoichi Nakagawa found dead". The Telegraph. Tokyo. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
  5. ^ "National News". Mainichi Daily News. 18 December 2006. Archived from the original on 24 December 2006.
  6. ^ "Japan faces becoming 'Chinese province' - Yahoo! News". Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 1 March 2007. Yahoo! World News, 26 February 2007
  7. ^ 台湾メディアが現政権『風前のともしび』 Archived 24 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine (in Japanese) 17 February 2009 Nikkan Sports
  8. ^ "Aso elected premier / Announces Cabinet lineup himself; poll likely on Nov. 2" Archived 28 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine The Yomiuri Shimbun, 25 September 2008
  9. ^ "Japan seeks emergency IMF loan programme to stabilise markets". The Daily Star.
  10. ^ Kageyama, Yuri (12 November 2008). "Report:Japan to offer $105 bln for IMF bailouts". The USA Today.
  11. ^ "The Japanese want the International Monetary Fund to start in Iceland". IceNews.
  12. ^ "Japan, IMF signs $150b pact". asiaone.
  13. ^ "IMF Signs $100 Billion Borrowing Agreement With Japan". IMF.
  14. ^ "Thailand, Japan reach basic accord on FTA (Kyodo News)". IMF. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011.
  15. ^ "Abe’s reshuffle promotes right-wingers" (Korea Joongang Daily - 2014/09/05)
  16. ^ "Comfort Women". Bloomberg. 13 March 2007.
  17. ^ ヤマ場になると飲まずにいられない…中川氏、失態いろいろ(in Japanese) 18 February 2009 Yomiuri Shimbun
  18. ^ IMF Survey: IMF Gains New Funding, Puts Focus on Bank Clean Up IMF
  19. ^ "Japanese finance minister denies he was drunk at G-7" International Herald Tribune, February 16, 2009
  20. ^ "Nakagawa Says He Won't Resign After Meeting Aso (Update2)" Bloomberg.com, 16 February 2009
  21. ^ "Japan finance minister steps down", BBC News, 17 February 2009
  22. ^ BBC NEWS Asia-Pacific Japanese ex-minister found dead
  23. ^ a b "Ex-minister found dead". Straits Times. 5 October 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.[permanent dead link]
  24. ^ "Disgraced former finance minister found dead". France 24. 4 October 2009. Archived from the original on 7 October 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  25. ^ "Disgraced Japanese minister found dead in bedroom". ABC News (Australia). 4 October 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  26. ^ "Mystery surrounds Nakagawa death". Euronews. 4 October 2009. Archived from the original on 16 May 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  27. ^ a b "Controversial former Japanese finance minister found dead". CNN. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  28. ^ "Japan's ex-Finance Minister found dead". Press Trust of India. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  29. ^ a b "Former minister found dead in Japan". Al Jazeera. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  30. ^ a b "Japan's ex-finance minister Nakagawa found dead: police". The Sydney Morning Herald. 5 October 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  31. ^ Former Japanese finance minister found dead[dead link], The Washington Post
  32. ^ "Former Japan Minister dies". The New Zealand Herald. 5 October 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.[dead link]
  33. ^ David McNeill (5 October 2009). "Shamed Japanese ex-minister found dead". The Independent. London. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  34. ^ Justin McCurry (4 October 2009). "Former Japanese finance minister found dead". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  35. ^ 自民・中川郁子氏が初当選…故・昭一氏の妻. Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). 16 December 2012. Archived from the original on 14 June 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Finance of Japan
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of State for Financial Services of Japan
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan
Succeeded by