Yukio Hatoyama

In this Japanese name, the family name is Hatoyama.
Yukio Hatoyama
鳩山 由紀夫

Hatoyama in September 2009
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
16 September 2009  8 June 2010
Monarch Akihito
Deputy Naoto Kan
Preceded by Tarō Asō
Succeeded by Naoto Kan
Member of the
House of Representatives for Hokkaido 9th District
In office
23 June 1986  16 December 2012
Preceded by Constituency created
Succeeded by Manabu Horii
Majority 122,345 (40.2%) (2009)
Personal details
Born (1947-02-11) 11 February 1947
Bunkyō, Tokyo, Japan
Political party Independent
Other political
Liberal Democratic Party (Before 1993)
New Party Sakigake (1993–1996)
previous Democratic Party (1996–1998)
Democratic Party of Japan (1998–2012)
Spouse(s) Miyuki Hatoyama (1975–present)
Children Kiichirō Hatoyama
Alma mater University of Tokyo
Stanford University
Profession Engineer
Religion Baptist[1]
Website Official website

Yukio Hatoyama (鳩山 由紀夫 Hatoyama Yukio, born 11 February 1947) is a former Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 16 September 2009 to 2 June 2010. He was the first Prime Minister from the modern Democratic Party of Japan.[2]

First elected to the House of Representatives in 1986, Hatoyama became President of the DPJ, the main opposition party, in May 2009. He then led the party to victory in the August 2009 general election, defeating the long-governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). He represented the Hokkaido 9th district in the House of Representatives from 1986 to 2012.

Early life and family

Ichirō Hatoyama and his two grandsons, Yukio and Kunio

Hatoyama comes from a prominent Japanese political family which has been likened to the Kennedy family of the United States.[3]

Hatoyama, who was born in Bunkyō, Tokyo, is a fourth generation politician. His paternal great-grandfather, Kazuo Hatoyama, was speaker of the House of Representatives of the Diet of Japan from 1896 to 1897 during the Meiji era.[4] Kazuo later served as the president of Waseda University.[4] His paternal great-grandmother, Haruko Hatoyama, was a co-founder of what is known today as Kyoritsu Women's University. His paternal grandfather, Ichirō Hatoyama, was a major politician; he served as Prime Minister and was a founder and the first President of the Liberal Democratic Party in 1956. As Prime Minister, he restored diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, which cleared the way for Japan's membership in the United Nations.[4]

Hatoyama is the son of Iichirō Hatoyama, who was Foreign Minister for a time. His mother, Yasuko Hatoyama, is a daughter of Shojiro Ishibashi, the founder of Bridgestone Corporation and heir to his significant inheritance.[3] Yasuko Hatoyama is known as the "Godmother" within the Japanese political world for her financial contributions to both of her sons' political ambitions.[4] In particular, Yasuko donated billions of yen when Kunio and Yukio co-created their previous Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in 1996 to help establish her sons' fledgling political party.[4]

His younger brother, Kunio Hatoyama, served as Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications under Prime Minister Taro Aso until 12 June 2009. His younger sister-in-law Emily Hatoyama (鳩山エミリ) who is Kunio's wife, an Australian Japanese, was a TV personality in Japan.

Hatoyama graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Tokyo in 1969 and received a PhD in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University in 1976.[5] He met his wife, Miyuki Hatoyama, while studying at Stanford (Miyuki was working at a Japanese restaurant).[4] The couple married in 1975 after Miyuki divorced her ex-husband.[3] The couple's son, Kiichirō (紀一郎), graduated from the urban engineering department of the University of Tokyo, is a visiting engineering researcher at Moscow State University.[4]

Hatoyama worked as assistant professor (1976–1981) at Tokyo Institute of Technology and later transferred to Senshu University as associate professor (1981–1984).

Hatoyama's son Kiichiro Hatoyama (1976) is married and has given Hatoyama senior two grandchildren.


Political career

Hatoyama ran for a seat in the Hokkaido 9th District and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1986 representing the ruling LDP. In 1993 he left the LDP to form the New Party Sakigake with Naoto Kan, Masayoshi Takemura and Shūsei Tanaka (田中秀征). He and Kan then left to join the newly formed Democratic Party of Japan (1996).

Hatoyama and his younger brother, Kunio Hatoyama, co-created the party, using billions of yen donated by their mother, Yasuko.[4] Kunio Hatoyama eventually left the DPJ, saying the party had drifted too far to the left from its original centrist roots, and rejoined the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).[4] Yukio remained with the party through its merger with several other opposition parties in 1998.

The elder Hatoyama became the Democratic Party of Japan's chairman and leader of the opposition from 1999 to 2002, after which he resigned to take responsibility for the confusion that arose from rumors of mergers with Ichirō Ozawa's then Liberal Party. He was Secretary-General of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)[5] before he succeeded Ozawa as party leader following Ozawa's resignation on 11 May 2009. Hatoyama was chosen by fellow party representatives on 16 May 2009, winning 124 of the 219 votes and defeating rival Katsuya Okada.[6]

Because of his quirky hairstyle, prominent eyes, and eccentric manner, he is known by his supporters and his opposition alike as "ET" or "The Alien",[7] a nickname his wife states he earned because of how different he is from old-style Japanese politicians.[8] Another nickname commonly used by the Japanese public in press was Popo, after a children's song about a pigeon that starts with the lyric "popopo, hato popo"; the first character in Hatoyama's last name is the Japanese word for 'pigeon'.

Prime minister

Hatoyama entered his prime minister career with a high approval rating. The DPJ promised to end lavish spending on public works projects associated with LDP and to divert that money to tax cuts and subsidies for households.[9] Expectations were high that he would break strongly with the policies of the LDP.[10]

Hatoyama's popularity soon began to falter after the DPJ struggled to meet the high expectations they set in the midst of a sliding economy. In May 2010 he faced a possible no confidence vote,[11] and on 2 June 2010, Hatoyama announced that he would be resigning as Prime Minister.

Although Yukio Hatayoma was prime minister for less than a year, he had a wide range of achievements to his name by the time that he left office. Amongst his achievements included:

Illegal campaign contributions

In December 2009, a finance scandal caused a drop in Hatoyama's popularity. It was revealed that Hatoyama received $4 million in donations that were improperly reported. Most of the money was given by his mother, a wealthy heiress, and some of the reported givers had the names of deceased people. The scandal raised questions about his credibility while also highlighting his privileged background.[17] However, according to NHK in 2010 prosecutors chose not to pursue him citing insufficient evidence of criminal activity, although a secretary was given a suspended prison sentence, and a review panel commented: "it is difficult to believe Hatoyama's assertion he was unaware of the falsifications."[18]

Spending review

In December, the DPJ created a government task force to review government spending and pledged to make cuts equal to $32.8 billion. However, the task force cut only a quarter of that amount. Hatoyama even had to renege on a campaign promise to cut road-related taxes – including a highly symbolic gasoline tax and highway tolls.[19] Hatoyama faced criticism from fringes of his own party, some calling for a return to public works spending.[9]

Foreign policy

Hatoyama with Barack Obama, President of the United States

Hatoyama, representing the policies DPJ campaigned on, wanted to shift Japan's focus from a more America-centric foreign policy to a more Asia-focused policy. Also, he wanted to make foreign policy decisions with America more transparent, from a popular perception that Japanese foreign policy was determined by insiders behind closed doors.[20]

The DPJ's election platform called for re-examining its ties with the United States.[10] As the 1960 Japan–U.S. security treaty celebrated its 50 year anniversary, Hatoyama called for a "close and equal" Japan–U.S. relationship, meaning giving Japan a more independent role.[21]

Hatoyama ended an eight-year refueling mission in Afghanistan, a highly symbolic move because the mission had long been criticized for violating the nation's pacifist Constitution. In order not to anger Washington, Hatoyama offered $5 billion in civilian aid for Afghanistan reconstruction.[22]

Hatoyama was also faced with the issue of the relocation of the American Futenma Marine Corps Air Base. The United States government hoped that Hatoyama would honor a 2006 agreement to relocate the base to a less populated part of Okinawa and move 8,000 marines to Guam.[23] Some voices in the DPJ demanded that America move its military bases off Okinawa islands altogether.[20] Hatoyama was torn between public opinion on Okinawa and the desire to retain strong ties with Washington.

In moving towards a more Asia-centered foreign policy, Hatoyama worked towards making relations better with nearby East Asian countries, even saying "the Japanese Islands don't belong to only Japanese".[24] Hatoyama worked to deepen economic integration with the East Asian region, pushing for a free trade zone in Asia by 2020 and proposing Haneda airport as a 24-hour hub for international flights.[25] In January 2010, he welcomed South Korea's president, calling for 'future-oriented' ties, as opposed to recalling the past, in which Japan colonized Korea.[26]

Relations with China also warmed under Hatoyama. The first few months saw an exchange of visits, including one by favored successor to China's leadership Xi Jinping, for whom Hatoyama hastily arranged an appointment with Emperor Akihito.[27] On 7 January, the Daily Yomiuri reported high-level discussion over a further exchange of visits between the two countries to promote reconciliation over historical issues. "Beijing aims to ease anti-Japan sentiment among the Chinese public by having Hatoyama visit Nanjing and express a sense of regret about the Sino-Japanese War", the paper reported.[28]


On 2 June 2010, Hatoyama announced his resignation as Prime Minister before a meeting of the Japanese Democratic Party. He cited breaking a campaign promise to close an American military base on the island of Okinawa as the main reason for the move. On 28 May 2010, soon after and because of increased tensions from the sinking of a South Korean navy ship allegedly by North Korea,[29] Hatoyama had made a deal with U.S. President Barack Obama[30][31][32][33][34] to retain the base for security reasons, but the deal was unpopular in Japan. He also mentioned money scandals involving a top party leader, Ichirō Ozawa, who resigned as well, in his decision to step down.[30] Hatoyama had been pressed to leave by members of his party after doing poorly in polls in anticipation of an upper house election in July 2010.[35]


Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Finance
Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy
Naoto Kan
Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications
Minister of State for Promotion of Local Sovereignty
Kazuhiro Haraguchi
Minister of JusticeKeiko Chiba
Minister of Foreign AffairsKatsuya Okada
Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy
Tatsuo Kawabata
Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare
Minister of State for Pension Reform
Akira Nagatsuma
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and FisheriesHirotaka Akamatsu
Minister of Economy, Trade and IndustryMasayuki Naoshima
Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs
Seiji Maehara
Minister of the EnvironmentSakihito Ozawa
Minister of DefenceToshimi Kitazawa
Chief Cabinet Secretary
Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food Safety, Social Affairs, and Gender Equality
Hirofumi Hirano
Chairman of the National Commission on Public Safety
Minister of State for Disaster Management
Minister of State for the Abduction Issue
Hiroshi Nakai
Minister of State for Financial Services
Minister of State for Postal Reform
Shizuka Kamei
Minister of State for the New Concept of Public Service
Minister of State for Civil Service Reform
Minister of State for National Policy
Yoshito Sengoku
Minister of State for Government RevitalisationYukio Edano

After prime ministership

After stepping down as prime minister Hatoyama continued to serve as a DPJ diet member. When Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda introduced legislation to raise the consumption tax from 5% to 10% Hatoyama was one of 57 DPJ lower house lawmakers who voted against the bill.[36] His membership in the DPJ was suspended for six months, subsequently reduced to three.[37]

Unlike some of the consumption tax rebels, Hatoyama did not leave the DPJ to join Ichiro Ozawa's People's Life First party, but continued to act within the DPJ to oppose both the consumption tax increase and the restart of nuclear plants. On 20 July 2012 he addressed a crowd of protesters outside the prime minister's residence, saying it was premature to restart nuclear reactors.[38]

In the lead-up to the 16 December 2012 general election the DPJ announced that it would not endorse candidates who did not agree to follow its current policies, including the consumption tax hike and support for joining the negotiations to enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership. On 21 November Hatoyama announced that he would retire from politics.[39] Hatoyama was later expelled from the party.

On 9 January 2013, Hatoyama issued a formal apology to the victims of Japanese war crimes in China during a visit to Nanjing. He also urged the Japanese government to acknowledge the dispute between the two countries concerning sovereignty of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands.[40]

On 21 March 2013, Hatoyama was appointed as the honorary chairman and a senior consultant of Hoifu Energy Group Limited.[41]

In March 2015, Hatoyama visited Crimea and defended referendum in Crimea as constitutional.[42]

Hatoyama practices the Transcendental Meditation technique and will deliver the Maharishi University of Management commencement address on May 23, 2015 and will be awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.[43]

Awards and honors

Sustainable Development Leadership Award

On 5 February 2010, Hatoyama was awarded the Sustainable Development Leadership Award of the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2010. The reason for the award was "his effort to confront climate change and leading his government to make it a main issue".[44]

Time 100

In 2010, Time magazine's "Time 100" elected Hatoyama as No. 6 among the 100 most influential people in the world. It said Hatoyama had "helped change his country from a de facto one-party state into a functional democracy", through the DPJ victory in the 2009 general election.[45]

See also


  1. Gheddo, Piero. "Japan turning the page, closer to the Church's social doctrine". Asia News. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  2. Wall Street Journal
  3. 1 2 3 Suzuki, Miwa (24 August 2009). "Japan's first lady hopeful an outgoing TV lifestyle guru". France 24. Agence France-Presse. Archived from the original on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2009.; Hayashi, Yuka. "Japan's Hatoyama Sustains Family Political Tradition," Wall Street Journal (WSJ). 1 August 2009.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Takahashi, Kosuke. "Japan on the brink of a new era", Asia Times, 29 August 2009.
  5. 1 2 "Yukio Hatoyama". The Democratic Party of Japan.
  6. "Hatoyama Wins Election to Head Japan's Biggest Opposition Party". Bloomberg News. 16 May 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2009.
  7. "New Japan PM earned alien name, wife says". Brisbane Times. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  8. Willacy, Mark (1 September 2009). "New Japan PM earned alien name, wife says". ABC News. Retrieved 1 September 2009.
  9. 1 2 Tabuchi, Hiroko (22 December 2009). "Harsh Realities Stand in the Way of a Leader's Vision of a New Japan". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
  10. 1 2 Tabuchi, Hiroko (16 September 2009). "Japan's New Prime Minister Takes Office, Ending an Era". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
  11. "NHK WORLD English". NHK. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  12. "A Clouded Outlook". Time. 2 August 2010.
  13. "Consumer prices fall in Japan". The Irish Times. 5 May 2010.
  14. "Déjà vu in Japan's agricultural policymaking". East Asia Forum. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Manifesto" (PDF). DPJ. 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  16. "Conference" (PDF). University of Tokyo. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  17. Fackler, Martin (18 December 2009). "Doubts Grow in Japan About Premier Amid Money Scandal". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
  18. "NHKオンライン". NHK. Retrieved 2 July 2010.
  19. Dow Jones (21 December 2009). "Japan Prime Minister Says Gasoline Tax Surcharges To Continue". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
  20. 1 2 Fackler, Martin (1 December 2009). "Japan's Relationship With U.S. Gets a Closer Look". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
  21. Masami, Ito (19 January 2010). "As security pact with U.S. turns 50, Japan looks to redefine relations". The Japan Times.
  22. Fackler, Martin (15 January 2010). "Japan Ends Naval Support for Afghan War". The New York Times.
  23. Fackler, Martin (13 November 2009). "Obama, in Japan, Says U.S. Will Study Status of a Marine Base on Okinawa". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
  24. 『日本列島は日本人だけのものではない』|url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlQP5IjLtKY|
  25. Tabuchi, Hiroko (30 December 2010). "Japan Unveils Plan for Growth, Emphasizing Free Trade in Asia". The New York Times.
  26. "In milestone year, Hatoyama seeks 'future-oriented' ties with South Korea". Asahi Shimbun. Japan. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
  27. Fackler, Martin (23 January 2010). "In Japan, U.S. Losing Diplomatic Ground to China". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  28. Satoshi Saeki (7 January 2010). "China proposes Hatoyama visit Nanjing Incident site". Daily Yomiuri. Retrieved 24 January 2010.
  29. Associated, The (23 May 2010). "Japan's Leader Concedes To U.S. On Okinawa Base". NPR. Archived from the original on 25 May 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  30. 1 2 Hayashi, Yuka (2 June 2010). "Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama Resigns; Search for New Leader Begins". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  31. "MCAS Futenma to remain on Okinawa". Marine Corps Times.
  32. "Hatoyama, Obama to talk on Futenma Air Base: report". Reuters. 25 May 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  33. The Yomiuri Shimbun. "'Obama nod' prompted Fukushima dismissal". Yomiuri Shimbun. Japan. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  34. "Obama, Hatoyama Satisfied With US Airbase Relocation – White House". The Wall Street Journal. 27 May 2010. Archived from the original on 1 June 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  35. Linda Sieg and Yoko Nishikawa (2 June 2010). "Japan PM quits before election, yen sinks". Reuters. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
  36. The Daily Yomiuri Local DPJ chapters blast tax-vote rebel lawmakers June 28 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2012
  37. The Japan Times Hatoyama's DPJ membership suspension halved 10 July 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2012
  38. Kyoto News Ex-premier Hatoyama joins antinuclear rally near PM's office July 20 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2012
  39. Daily Yomiuri Former premier Hatoyama retires from politics 22 November 2012
  40. Reporter, Staff (January 19, 2013). "Former Japanese PM Hatoyama apologizes for Nanjing Massacre". China Times News Group.
  41. "APPOINTMENT OF HONORARY CHAIRMAN AND SENIOR CONSULTANT". Hoifu Energy Group Limited. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  42. The Japan Times Ex-prime minister Hatoyama defends referendum in Crimea as constitutional
  43. PRWeb Former Japan Prime Minister to Address Record Number of Grads at 2015 Maharishi University Commencement
  44. "Press Release". Business Wire. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
  45. NEW YORK, 29 April (AP) – (Kyodo)


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House of Representatives of Japan
Preceded by
Tadashi Kodaira, Seiichi Ikehata, Haruo Okada, Shōichi Watanabe, Tatsuo Takahashi
Representative for Hokkaido's 4th district (multi-member)
Served alongside: Tatsuo Takahashi, Seiichi Ikehata, Shōichi Watanabe, Tadamasa Kodaira, Kenji Nakazawa
Constituency abolished
New constituency Representative for Hokkaido's 9th district
Succeeded by
Manabu Horii
Political offices
Preceded by
Taro Aso
Prime Minister of Japan
Succeeded by
Naoto Kan
Party political offices
New political party Leader of the Democratic Party
Served alongside: Naoto Kan
Succeeded by
Naoto Kan
Preceded by
Naoto Kan
President of the Democratic Party
Preceded by
Ichirō Ozawa
President of the Democratic Party
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