Hirota, Koki (kōˈkē hēˈrōtä) [key], 1878–1948, Japanese statesman. He graduated from the law school of Tokyo Univ. A career diplomat, he served as ambassador to Russia (1930–32) and as foreign minister (1933–36). He became prime minister in Mar., 1936, and followed army dictates. His regime saw increased military spending, government interference in the economy, growth of aggression in China, and the signing of the Anti-Comintern Pact. He resigned under army pressure in Feb., 1937. Later he was (1937–38) foreign minister and president of the cabinet planning board under Fumimaro Konoye. In 1945 he negotiated to keep the USSR from declaring war on Japan. After the war he was arrested as a war criminal, and in 1948 he was convicted and hanged.