Hashimoto, Ryutaro (rēˌōtärˈō häˌshēmōˈtō) [key], 1937–2006, Japanese politician, b. Tokyo, grad. Keio Univ. He entered politics in 1963, when he was elected to parliament from Okayama prefecture. A member of the conservative Liberal Democratic party (LDP), he was repeatedly reelected to parliament, meanwhile rising in national office. He served as minister of health and welfare (1978–79), transport (1986–87), finance (1989–91), and international trade and industry (1994–96). Hashimoto became LDP leader in 1995 and soon assumed the post of deputy prime minister in Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama's cabinet. Known for his acerbic and combative style and nationalist views, both of which are evident in his book Vision of Japan (1993), Hashimoto became prime minister in 1996, following Murayama's resignation. Hashimoto resigned in 1998 after LDP losses in elections for the upper house of parliament; he was succeeded by Keizo Obuchi. From Dec., 2000, to Apr., 2001, he served as administrative reforms minister under Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. In April, after Mori resigned, Hashimoto made a bid for the prime ministership but was defeated by Junichiro Koizumi, an insurgent supported by the LDP rank and file.
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