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Kijuro Shidehara

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Shidehara_TIME.jpg
Shidehara on a 1931 issue of TIME magazine.

Kijūrō Shidehara (幣原 喜重郎 Shidehara Kijūrō, August 11 1872March 10 1951) was a Japanese politician and diplomat who was the 44th Prime Minister of Japan from October 9 1945 to May 22 1946. He was a baron before the abolition of the Japanese peerage system.

He was born in Osaka and attended Tokyo Imperial University, graduating from the Faculty of Law. In 1915, he was appointed Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and was given ambassadorial powers during the Washington Naval Conference. In 1924, he became Minister of Foreign Affairs in the cabinet of Kato Takaaki, and continued in this post under Wakatsuki Reijiro and Hamaguchi Osachi.

Shidehara followed a non-interventionist policy toward China, then attempting to stabilize its relations with Britain and the United States. The term "Shidehara diplomacy" came to describe Japan's liberal foreign policy during the 1920s, and was assailed by military interests who believed it was weakening the country, especially after the conclusion of the London Naval Conference in 1930. In October of 1931, Shidehara was featured on the cover of TIME with the caption "Japan's Man of Peace and War." [1] (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/archive/covers/0,16641,1101311012,00.html) He left politics after the Manchurian Incident and maintained a low profile through the end of World War II.

After Japan's surrender in 1945, Shidehara was appointed to serve as prime minister, becoming president of the Progressive Party (Shinpō-tō). His cabinet drafted a constitution for Japan in line with Douglas MacArthur's policy directives, but the draft was vetoed by the occupation authorities. His cabinet resigned following the first postwar election, when the Liberal Party of Japan captured most of the votes. Shigeru Yoshida became prime minister in Shidehara's wake.

Shidehara joined the Liberal Party a year later, after Katayama Tetsu formed a socialist government. As one of Katayama's harshest critics, Shidehara was elected president of the House of Representatives. He died in this post in 1951.

During his diplomatic career, Shidehara was known for his excellent command of the English language. At one press conference, an American reporter was confused regarding the pronunciation of Shidehara's name: the foreign minister replied, "I'm Hi(he)-dehara, and my wife is Shi(she)-dehara."

Preceded by:
Higashikuni Naruhiko
Prime Minister of Japan
1945–1946
Succeeded by:
Shigeru Yoshida
fr:Shidehara Kijuro

ja:幣原喜重郎

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