Junichiro Koizumi (born January 8, 1942) is a Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 2001 to 2006. He retired from politics when his term in parliament ended.
Widely seen as a maverick leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), he became known as an economic reformer, focusing on Japan's government debt and the privatization of its postal service. In 2005, Koizumi led the LDP to win one of the largest parliamentary majorities in modern Japanese history.
Koizumi also attracted international attention through his deployment of the Japan Self-Defense Forces to Iraq, the first foreign deployment of the Japanese military since World War II. His visits to Yasukuni Shrine led to diplomatic tensions with neighboring China and South Korea.
Since 1972, Koizumi is the only Prime Minister to have served more than five years in office. Until Naoto Kan, none of his successors were able to keep the office for more than one year.
Koizumi is a third-generation politician. His father, Junya Koizumi, was director general of the Japan Defense Agency and a member of the Diet. His grandfather, Koizumi Matajirō, was Minister of Posts and Telecommunications under Prime Ministers Hamaguchi and Wakatsuki and an early advocate of postal privatization. See Koizumi family.
Born in Yokosuka, Kanagawa prefecture on January 8, 1942, Koizumi was educated at Yokosuka High School and Keio University, where he studied economics. He attended University College London before returning to Japan in August 1969 upon the death of his father.
He stood for election to the lower house in December; however, he did not earn enough votes to win election as a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) representative. In 1970, he was hired as a secretary to Takeo Fukuda, who was Minister of Finance at the time and was elected as Prime Minister in 1976.
In the general elections of December 1972, Koizumi was elected as a member of the Lower House for the Kanagawa 11th district. He joined Fukuda's faction within the LDP. Since then, he has been re-elected ten times.
Koizumi married 21-year-old university student Kayoko Miyamoto in 1978. The couple had been formally introduced to each other as potential spouses, a common practice known as omiai. The wedding ceremony at the Tokyo Prince Hotel was attended by about 2,500 people, including Takeo Fukuda (then Prime Minister), and featured a wedding cake shaped like the National Diet Building.
The marriage ended in divorce in 1982, as Kayoko was reportedly unhappy with her married life for several reasons. After this divorce, Koizumi never married again, saying that divorce consumed ten times more energy than marriage.
Koizumi had custody of two of his three sons: Kōtarō Koizumi and Shinjirō Koizumi, who were reared by one of his sisters. Shinjiro is the representative for Kanagawa's 11th district, a position his father has also filled. The youngest son, Yoshinaga Miyamoto, now a graduate of Keio University, was born following the divorce and has never met Koizumi. The third son is known to have attended one of Koizumi's rallies, but was turned away from trying to meet his father. He was also turned away from attending his paternal grandmother's funeral.
Koizumi is a fan of Richard Wagner, the heavy metal band X Japan and has released a CD of his favorite pieces by contemporary Italian composer Ennio Morricone.
Koizumi is also a noted fan of Elvis Presley, with whom he shares a birthday (January 8). In 2001 he released a collection of his favorite Elvis songs on CD, with his comments about each song. His brother is Senior Advisor of the Tokyo Elvis Fan Club. Koizumi and his brother helped finance a statue of Elvis in Tokyo's Harajuku district. On June 30, 2006, Koizumi visited Presley's estate, Graceland, accompanied by U.S. President George W. Bush, and First Lady Laura Bush. After arriving in Memphis aboard Air Force One, they headed to Graceland. While there, Koizumi briefly sang a few bars of his favourite Elvis tunes, whilst warmly impersonating Presley, and wearing Presley's trademark oversized golden sunglasses.
Koizumi also appreciates Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. He and Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen visited the Sibelius' home on September 8, 2006. There Koizumi showed respect to the late composer with a moment of silence. He owns reproductions of the manuscripts of all seven symphonies by Sibelius.
In 2009, Koizumi made a voice acting appearance in an Ultraman feature film, Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend The Movie, playing the voice of Ultraman King. Koizumi said he took on the role at the urging of his son Shinjiro.
He has been compared many times to American actor Richard Gere, because of their similar hair style. In 2005, he used the latter as a boost for his falling popularity, by staging an "impromptu ballroom dance performance."
From : www.wikipedia.org