Friday, February 17, 2012

Taro Aso

Taro Aso (麻生 太郎, Asō Tarō?, born September 20, 1940) was the 92nd Prime Minister of Japan serving from September 2008 to September 2009, and was defeated in the August 2009 election.

He has served in the House of Representatives since 1979. He was Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2007, and was Secretary-General of the LDP briefly in 2007 and in 2008. He was President of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) from 2008 to 2009. His successor, Sadakazu Tanigaki, was chosen 28 September 2009.

Early Life
Aso, a Roman Catholic, was born in Iizuka, Fukuoka on September 20, 1940. His father, Takakichi Aso, was the chairman of the Aso Cement Company and a close associate of Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka; his mother Kazuko Aso was Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida's daughter. Taro is also a great-great-grandson of Ōkubo Toshimichi, and his current wife, Chikako is the third daughter of Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki. His younger sister, Nobuko, is the wife of Prince Tomohito of Mikasa, a first cousin of the Emperor Akihito.

Aso first graduated from the Faculty of Politics and Economics at Gakushuin University. He then studied in the United States at Stanford University, but was cut off by his family, who feared he was becoming too Americanized. After making his way back to Japan on a ship, he left once more to study at the London School of Economics.

Aso spent two years working for a diamond mining operation in Sierra Leone before civil war forced him to return to Japan.

Aso joined his father's company in 1966, and served as president of the Aso Mining Company from 1973 to 1979. Working for the company, he lived in Brazil during the 1960s and became fluent in Portuguese.

He was also a member of the Japanese shooting team at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and President of the Japan Junior Chamber in 1978.

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