Ishihara Nobuteru

(Kanagawa Prefecture, 1957- )

Ishihara Nobuteru As with many of Japan's political families, the Ishihara name is well established. But in this case, it is perhaps better known for its non-political connections. Ishihara Yujiro was one of Japan's most famous and popular postwar movie stars, a movie legend in fact. He had his first big break in a film based on the novel 'Children of the Sun'. The book was written by his brother Shintaro, who later became a diet member and is currently the outspoken governor of Tokyo. His sons have followed similar paths: the younger, Yoshizumi, is an actor while the elder is in his fourth term as a member of the Diet.

Ishihara Nobuteru, along with the likes of Tanaka Makiko, is one of the most prominent of the 'young turks' of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has dominated Japanese postwar politics. He is a graduate of Keio University and spent part of his time as a student at Elmaira University in New York. After university, he joined Nippon TV as a political reporter. In 1987, he quit his TV job and in 1990 he was elected to the Diet in my local constituency of Suginami. He has been active in the LDP's policy making, particularly in the area of fiscal policy. In the LDP presidential election in 1998, he supported Junichiro Koizumi after leaving the faction led by Yoshiro Mori, who later became a prime minister who set new records for unpopularity. Ishihara supported Koizumi again in 2001, this time successfully, without any factional affiliation. This led to his appointment to Koizumi's cabinet with the catchy title of State Minister in charge of Administrative and Regulatory Reforms.

On a personal note, I had the distinction of being a private English tutor to Ishihara's personal secretary back in the early 90's. Not that the guy ever turned up for class! Such is the hurly-burly of political life.