Ryokichi Minobe

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Ryokichi Minobe
美濃部 亮吉
Ryokichi Minobe.jpg
Governor of Tokyo
In office
23 April 1967 – 22 April 1979
Preceded byRyotaro Azuma
Succeeded byShunichi Suzuki
Member of the House of Councillors
In office
8 July 1980 – 24 December 1984
Personal details
BornFebruary 5, 1904
Tokyo, Japan
DiedDecember 24, 1984(1984-12-24) (aged 80)
Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Alma materTokyo Imperial University

Ryokichi Minobe (美濃部 亮吉, Minobe Ryōkichi, February 5, 1904 – December 24, 1984) was a Japanese politician who served as Governor of Tokyo from 1967 to 1979. He is one of the best known socialist figures in modern Japanese history.

Early life[edit]

Minobe was born in Tokyo, his father, Tatsukichi Minobe, was a noted constitutional scholar, while his mother Tamiko was the eldest daughter of mathematician, educator, and politician Dairoku Kikuchi.

He graduated from the law faculty of Tokyo Imperial University in 1927 and lectured in the agriculture faculty from 1929 to 1932. In 1935, he took a faculty position at Hosei University.

In 1945, Minobe became an editorial writer for the newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, he was chosen to head the Cabinet Statistics Office in 1946.

Governor of Tokyo[edit]

In 1967, Minobe ran as the Communist and Socialist candidate for Governor of Tokyo, he defeated his two rivals, Rikkyo University president Masatoshi Matsushita (nominee of the LDP and DSP) and Shibusawa Shipping head Ken'ichi Abe (nominee of Komeito).

Among his many policy achievements, he is best known for:

  • providing free health care for the elderly
  • enactment of pollution controls
  • converting streets in heavily trafficked areas to pedestrian-only use
  • allowing the construction of the Korean School in Tokyo and exempting its owner, Chongryon, from local taxation[1]
  • ending government sponsorship to Korakuen Hall race tracks

In 1971, Minobe won re-election, defeating LDP candidate Akira Hatano, he was re-elected for a third term in 1975, with the backing of the Socialists, Communists, and Komeito. (His defeated rival, LDP candidate Shintarō Ishihara, later served as a cabinet minister and eventually won the Tokyo governorship in the 1999 election.)

Many of Minobe's policies toward Chongryon, the Zainichi Korean group affiliated with North Korea were later undone by Ishihara in the aftermath of the revelation of North Korean abductions of Japanese.[1]

Later life[edit]

Minobe refused to run for a fourth term in 1979, he ran for the House of Councillors in 1980 and won a seat. He remained a member of the Diet until his death in 1984.


  1. ^ a b "N Korea group's Tokyo offices 'seized'". BBC News. 2003-09-09. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
Political offices
Preceded by
Ryotaro Azuma
Governor of Tokyo
Succeeded by
Shunichi Suzuki