Lyon Summit Information Logo The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
Lyon Summit Information

Minister for Foreign Affairs
Yukihiko Ikeda

Minister for Foreign Affairs Yukihiko Ikeda


Yukihiko Ikeda, the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the cabinet of Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto inaugurated in January 1996, is a member of the House of Representatives (H.R.) and of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the largest party in both houses of the National Diet.
A former bureaucrat in the Ministry of Finance, Ikeda has been elected seven consecutive times. He previously served as Director General of the Management and Coordination Agency and Director General of the Defense Agency and is known as a policy expert -- particularly in the fields of finance and security -- imbued with a deep understanding of international affairs.

Ikeda (formerly Awane) was born in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, in May 1937 as the second of three brothers. Following the demise of his father in 1944, he moved to Nakajima Honmachi, Hiroshima (now the site of the Peace Memorial Park), where his father's family lived. To escape the wartime bombings, in July 1945, the family moved to a mountain community, where his mother -- who had a teacher's licence -- was invited to teach at an agricultural school. Although Ikeda was spared the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, his home was demolished, and he was raised by his mother, who brought up her three sons by teaching.
Ikeda graduated from the Faculty of Law of the University of Tokyo in March 1961 and entered the Ministry of Finance the following month. In April 1964 he was given a temporary transfer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After serving for about four years as Vice Consul of the Consulate-General in New York, Ikeda returned to the Ministry of Finance in Tokyo and worked for the Co-ordination Division of the International Finance Bureau as an assistant director.
In May 1969 Ikeda married Noriko Ikeda, the second daughter of the late Hayato Ikeda, a former Prime Minister. In July 1970, he was transferred to the Budget Bureau, where he was responsible for overseeing the budgets for the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Industry. He was then the youngest Deputy Budget Examiner, and he made great efforts to establish the Japan Foundation, believing that the ensuing era of internationalization would require greater cross-border exchange of people. Even after becoming a Diet member Ikeda has remained a close advisor to international cooperation bodies, such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
In July 1974 he became the Secretary of then Minister of Finance (and later Prime Minister) Masayoshi Ohira. He resigned from the Ministry of Finance in May 1975 and made a successful run for an H.R. seat from the Hiroshima-2 electoral district in December 1976. He has since been reelected on six consecutive occasions.
Ikeda has been an active member of the Diet since his first term, sitting on such committees as the H.R. Committees on Finance and the H.R. Committee on Construction. Out of his belief that environmental issues needed to be more fully addressed, he served as director of the H.R. Special Committee on Anti-Pollution Measures and Environmental Protection.
In November 1981, when he was only in his third term as Diet member, he was appointed Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary in the second cabinet of Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki. In July 1986 he became Chairman of the H.R. Committee on Finance, helping implement the1.5 trillion yen income tax cut, which generated growth and boosted domestic demand, and implement public works utilizing the funds raised from the sale of shares of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone.
In June 1989 Ikeda became a cabinet minister for the first time as Director General of the Management and Coordination Agency in the cabinet formed by Prime Minister Sosuke Uno. His appointment attracted attention at the time, since it was unusual for a member of the House of Representatives who had been elected only five times to be given a cabinet post.
In December 1990 Ikeda was again appointed to a ministerial post, as Director General of the Defense Agency in the second cabinet of Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu. During his term as chief of the Defense Agency, Japan sent minesweepers of the Self-Defense Forces to the Persian Gulf following the Gulf Crisis as part of the nation's tangible international contributions. It was the first time for the SDF to be deployed overseas as part of Japan's international contribution. Ikeda was also involved in the drafting of legislation relating to Japan's participation in U.N. peacekeeping operations and was subsequently invited to serve as Chairman of the Japan Defense Agency Veterans Association, an invitation that he accepted.
In 1995 he was named to chair the defense subcommittee of the ruling coalition's policy coordination council. In this post he played a pivotal role in drafting the new National Defense Program Outline and the Midterm Defense Buildup Plan. He was also a leading force in projects to carry out administrative reform and deregulation.
As for his party duties, Ikeda was named Director General of the LDP's Finance and Accounting Bureau in 1984, where he labored to rebuild the party's finances, which was chronically in debt. He also served as the party's Deputy Secretary General and Chairman of the Hiroshima Prefectural Federation of Party Branches. As administrative director of the Kochikai (the LDP faction founded by his father-in-law Hayato Ikeda and later inherited by former Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa), he had a chance to broaden his sphere of political activity. Miyazawa developed a special trust in Ikeda, who is also known as a close associate of LDP Secretary General Koichi Kato.
Ikeda's rich international sense, a deep knowledge of security policy, and energetic personality brought to him the position of Minister for Foreign Affairs in the cabinet of Prime Minister Hashimoto, formed in January 1996.
Ikeda's main pastime is reading, although he is so engrossed in politics that work can also be described as a hobby for him. Ikeda is also known as a caring husband and good father. His family consists of his mother-in-law Mitsue, the widow of former Prime Minister Ikeda; his wife Noriko; and his three daughters Hiroko, Akiko, and Yasuko.

A Personal Chronology

May 13, 1937 Born in Hyogo Prefecture.
1961 Graduates from the Faculty of Law of the University of Tokyo.
Enters the Ministry of Finance.
1965 Serves as Vice Consul of the Consulate General in New York.
1970 Serves as Deputy Budget Examiner in the Ministry of Finance's Budget Bureau (in charge of Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Industry).
1974 Serves as Secretary to Finance Minister Masayoshi Ohira.
1975 Resigns from the Ministry of Finance.
1976 Elected for the first time to the House of Representatives (H.R.). Is now serving his seventh term.
1981 Appointed Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary.
1984 Appointed Director General, Finance and Accounting Bureau, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
1986 Appointed Chairman, H.R. Committee on Finance.
1989 Appointed Director General, Management and Coordination Agency (Minister of State).
1990 Appointed Deputy Secretary General of the LDP.
Appointed Director General, Defense Agency (Minister of State).
Jan. 1996 Appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Meets with U.S. President Bill Clinton, Vice-President Al Gore, and Secretary of State Warren Christopher in Washington.
Feb. 1996 Attends Meeting of Asian Foreign Ministers in Preparation for the Asia-Europe Meeting in Phuket, Thailand.
Attends Asia-Europe Meeting in Bangkok.
Mar. 1996 Attends Summit of Peace Makers in Egypt.
Apr. 1996 Attends Japan-European Union Ministerial Meeting in Brussels.
Attends Ninth Session of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development in Johannesburg.
May 1996 Attends Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Ministerial Meeting in Paris.

Back to Index