Shigeru Ishiba


Shigeru Ishiba (石破 茂, Ishiba Shigeru, born 4 February 1957) is a Japanese politician. Ishiba is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and is the leader of the Suigetsukai party faction, and a member of the Heisei Kenkyūkai faction, which was then led by Fukushiro Nukaga, until 2011.[1]

Shigeru Ishiba
石破 茂
Shigeru Ishiba in Yamanashi City September 2017 (cropped).jpg
Ishiba in 2017
Minister for Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy
In office
3 September 2014 – 3 August 2016
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byKozo Yamamoto
Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party
In office
26 September 2012 – 3 September 2014
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Preceded byKosuke Hori
Succeeded bySadakazu Tanigaki
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
In office
24 September 2008 – 16 September 2009
Prime MinisterTarō Asō
Preceded byNobutaka Machimura (acting)
Succeeded byHirotaka Akamatsu
Minister of Defense
In office
26 September 2007 – 2 August 2008
Prime MinisterYasuo Fukuda
Preceded byMasahiko Kōmura
Succeeded byYoshimasa Hayashi
Director-General of the Japan Defense Agency
In office
30 September 2002 – 27 September 2004
Prime MinisterJunichiro Koizumi
Preceded byGen Nakatani
Succeeded byYoshinori Ohno
Member of the House of Representatives
Assumed office
8 July 1986
ConstituencyTottori 1st district
Personal details
Born (1957-02-04) 4 February 1957 (age 65)
Yazu, Tottori, Japan
Political partyLiberal Democratic (1986–1993, 1997–)
Other political
Japan Renewal (1993–1994)
Group of Reform (1994)
Liberal Reform Union (1994)
New Frontier (1994–1996)
Independent (1996–1997)
Alma materKeio University

Ishiba served as Director General of the Japan Defense Agency under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi from 2002 to 2004. He was Minister of Defense under Yasuo Fukuda from 2007 to 2008 and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries under Tarō Asō from 2008 to 2009. The LDP lost government in 2009, entering Opposition.

In 2012, he sought to challenge Opposition Leader Sadakazu Tanigaki for the presidency of the LDP, but was defeated by former Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. He accepted the position of Secretary-General of the LDP on 27 September 2012. From 3 September 2014[2] to 3 August 2016, he served in cabinet as minister overseeing regional economic revitalization and policies aimed at reversing population decline.

Early lifeEdit

Ishiba is a native of Yazu District, Tottori. His father Jirō Ishiba was a politician and government official who served as Minister for Home Affairs, Vice-Minister of Construction, Governor of Tottori Prefecture, and a member of the House of Councillors;[3] his mother was an educator. After his father became the Governor of Tottori Prefecture in 1958, the family moved from Tokyo to Tottori; Ishiba has no memory of living in Tokyo.[4] After graduating from Tottori University Junior High School, he studied at Keio Senior High School.[5]

Ishiba studied law at Keio University, graduating in 1979. He entered Mitsui Bank the same year after graduation. He left the bank after his father's sudden death in 1983.[3]

Political careerEdit

With members of the Yasuo Fukuda Cabinet (26 September 2007)

In 1983, Ishiba began his political career by working at the secretariat of the Thursday Club, one of the factions in the Liberal Democratic Party. In 1985, at the age of 28, he was elected to the House of Representatives as the youngest member in Japanese history.[3]

Ishiba was appointed as the Minister of Defense to the cabinet of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda on 26 September 2007,[1] serving in that post until 1 August 2008. Ishiba was the second person in the cabinet of Fukuda to express belief in the existence of UFOs after Nobutaka Machimura.[6] To that end he appeared on a Japanese TV program which featured dubbed extracts from the National Geographic Channel's Alien Invasion series in June 2012.

Following Fukuda's resignation, Ishiba stood as a candidate for the LDP presidency. In the leadership election, held on 22 September 2008, Tarō Asō won with 351 of the 527 votes; Ishiba placed fifth and last with 25 votes.[7] In Aso's Cabinet, appointed on 24 September 2008, Ishiba was named as Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.[8]

In 2012, while the LDP was still in opposition, Ishiba again stood for the presidency of the LDP and was narrowly defeated by Shinzō Abe. He accepted the position of secretary general on 27 September 2012.[9] Abe re-appointed him to the position after the December 2012 election in which the LDP returned to government.[10]

He attracted considerable criticism for his statement in November 2013 that likened peaceful public protests against the new secrecy bill being introduced by his government to "acts of terrorism".[11] He later withdrew the comment.[12]

In the September 2014 cabinet reshuffle, Abe moved Ishiba from his position as LDP Secretary General and appointed him to a newly created office of Minister for Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy. He was reported to have declined the offer of a cabinet post responsible for the government's upcoming security legislation.[2]

In spite of having been a vocal critic of factionalism in the LDP, Ishiba launched his own faction, the Suigetsukai, on 28 September 2015, with the aim of succeeding sitting prime minister, Shinzo Abe. However, with 19 members, excluding Ishiba, it was one member short of the 20 votes required for nomination for LDP leadership.[13]

In 2020, following Shinzo Abe's resignation, Ishiba ran for the leadership of the Liberal Democratic Party, losing to Yoshihide Suga, placing third overall.[14] Ishiba declined to run in the 2021 Liberal Democratic Party leadership election, instead endorsing Taro Kono.[15]

Ishiba is affiliated to the openly nationalist organization Nippon Kaigi.[16]

Interest in military issuesEdit

Ishiba is known as a "gunji otaku" (military geek) and has a keen interest in military matters.[17] He is known for having a lot of expertise related to weapons systems, legal issues about defense and is also fond of building and painting models of aircraft and ships.[18]

Ishiba has repeatedly stated that he believes that Japan needs its own equivalent of the United States Marine Corps to be able to defend its many small islands, in 2010 when he was policy chief for the LDP in opposition,[19] and as secretary-general of the party in March 2013 after the LDP regained government.[20]

In 2011, Ishiba backed the idea of Japan maintaining the capability of building nuclear weapons:

I don't think Japan needs to possess nuclear weapons, but it's important to maintain our commercial reactors because it would allow us to produce a nuclear warhead in a short amount of time ... It's a tacit nuclear deterrent.[21]

During the 2013 North Korean crisis, Ishiba stated that Japan had the right to deliver a preemptive strike against North Korea.[22]

In 2017, Ishiba reiterated that Japan should have the capability to build nuclear weapons, stating that "Japan should have the technology to build a nuclear weapon if it wants to do so".[23]

Personal lifeEdit

Ishiba is a Protestant Christian. He was baptised at the age of 18 in the Tottori Church of the United Church of Christ in Japan. In recent years he has attended the Evangelical CBMC's National Prayer Breakfast. He also visits the Buddhist graves of his ancestors and worships at the shinto shrine.

Ishiba is known as a "Otaku" for military, vehicles, trains and Japanese idol. He made headlines when he allowed a Japan Self-Defence Forces' vehicle to be displayed at the Shizuoka Hobby Show, a trade fair for plastic and radio-controlled models. When the Russian Defence Minister visited Japan, he stayed up all night assembling a plastic model of the "Admiral Kuznetsov".

Electoral recordEdit

2017 Japanese general election: Tottori 1st[24]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democratic
Shigeru Ishiba 106,425 83.6 -0.9
Communist Naruyuki Tsukada 20,829 16.4 +4.5
2012 Japanese general election: Tottori 1st[25]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democratic
Shigeru Ishiba 124,746 84.5
Communist Naruyuki Tsukada 17,550 11.9
Independent Hiroshi Inoue 5,325 3.6
2009 Japanese general election: Tottori 1st[26]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democratic
Shigeru Ishiba 118,121
(People's New)
Yasuaki Okuda 63,383
Communist Naoyuki Iwanaga 7,336
Happiness Realization Yukihiro Hosokawa 1,757
Turnout 192,919 74.66
2005 Japanese general election: Tottori 1st[27]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
LDP Shigeru Ishiba 106,805
Democratic Shūsaku Hayakawa 48,092
Social Democratic Kiyoichi Tanaka 14,271
Communist Naruyuki Tsukada 11,105
Turnout 185,302 70.89
2003 Japanese general election: Tottori 1st[28]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
LDP Shigeru Ishiba 114,283
Social Democratic Kiyoichi Tanaka 31,236
Communist Iwao Suizu 14,092
Turnout 167,300 64.23
2000 Japanese general election: Tottori 1st[29]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
LDP Shigeru Ishiba 91,163
Independent Kōtarō Tamura 62,811
Social Democratic Fumiko Chikuma 22,425
Communist Naoyuki Iwanaga 9,406
1996 Japanese general election: Tottori 1st[30]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Independent Shigeru Ishiba 94,147 56.59%
Social Democratic Fumiko Chikuma 28,496 17.13%
Communist Naoyuki Iwanaga 14,845 8.92%
New Socialist Atushi Yamada 13,221 7.94%
Turnout 166,371 65.78%
Registered electors 252,920
Independent win (new seat)



  1. ^ a b "Fukuda Cabinet launched / Changes minimized to reduce impact on Diet business", The Yomiuri Shimbun, 26 September 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Abe keeps core intact in Cabinet shake-up". The Japan Times. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "農林水産総括政務次官. 石破 茂 プロフィール". Prime Minister's Office of Japan. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  4. ^ Tokugawa, Iehiro (24 April 2014). "政権与党のNo.2に聞く「自民党幹事長の本音」--石破茂氏(自民党幹事長)×徳川家広氏(政治経済評論家)". Keizaikai. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  5. ^ Saika, Nobuyuki (9 September 2020). "【自民党総裁選】菅氏、岸田氏、石破氏3人のキリスト教との関わり - クリプレ". Christian Press (in Japanese). Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  6. ^ Japan's defense minister braces for aliens,, 20 December 2007
  7. ^ "Aso elected LDP head", The Yomiuri Shimbun, 22 September 2008.
  8. ^ "Aso elected premier / Announces Cabinet lineup himself; poll likely on Nov. 2", The Yomiuri Shimbun, 25 September 2008.
  9. ^ [The Japan Times] Ishiba to be LDP's new secretary general 28 September 2012
  10. ^ Wall Street Journal Japan's Abe Appoints Ex-Rival as His No. 2 25 December 2012
  11. ^ Japan Times Secrecy law protests ‘act of terrorism’: LDP secretary-general 1 December 2013
  12. ^ Japan Times Ishiba softens criticism of bill protesters 2 December 2013
  13. ^ Nikkei Asian Review Senior LDP member Ishiba forms faction, aiming to succeed Abe 28 September 2015 Archived 8 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Yoshihide Suga wins landslide in Japanese leadership contest". Financial Times. 14 September 2020. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  15. ^ "LDP's Shigeru Ishiba formally throws support behind PM contender Taro Kono". The Japan Times. 15 September 2021. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  16. ^ "Abe’s reshuffle promotes right-wingers" (Korea Joongang Daily – 2014/09/05)
  17. ^ [The Japan Times] LDP off the policy autopilot: Ishiba 8 October 2009[dead link]
  18. ^ [The Japan Times] 'Military geek' Ishiba returns to friendly territory 27 September 2007
  19. ^ Japan Times Japan needs own marines: LDP’s Ishiba 25 May 2010
  20. ^ NHK website Ishiba urges creation of Japanese marine corps 26 March 2013[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ Chester Dawson (28 October 2011). "In Japan, Provocative Case for Staying Nuclear". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  22. ^ "Japan Claims Right to Preemptive Strike on N.Korea".
  23. ^ "Japan should be able to build nuclear weapons: ex-LDP Secretary-General Ishiba". The Japan Times Online. 6 November 2017. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  24. ^ (in Japanese) {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  25. ^ 総選挙2012>開票結果 小選挙区 鳥取. Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  26. ^ 衆議院>第45回衆議院議員選挙>鳥取県>鳥取1区. ザ・選挙 (in Japanese). JANJAN. Retrieved 14 February 2011. {{cite web}}: External link in |work= (help)
  27. ^ 衆議院>第44回衆議院議員選挙>鳥取県>鳥取1区. ザ・選挙 (in Japanese). JANJAN. Retrieved 14 February 2011. {{cite web}}: External link in |work= (help)
  28. ^ 衆議院>第43回衆議院議員選挙>鳥取県>鳥取1区. ザ・選挙 (in Japanese). JANJAN. Retrieved 14 February 2011. {{cite web}}: External link in |work= (help)
  29. ^ 衆議院>第42回衆議院議員選挙>鳥取県>鳥取1区. ザ・選挙 (in Japanese). JANJAN. Retrieved 14 February 2011. {{cite web}}: External link in |work= (help)
  30. ^ 衆議院>第41回衆議院議員選挙>鳥取県>鳥取1区. ザ・選挙 (in Japanese). JANJAN. Retrieved 14 February 2011. {{cite web}}: External link in |work= (help)

External linksEdit

  • 石破茂 Official Site
  • 石破茂-アゴラ
  • 石破茂(いしばしげる)ブログ
  • Shigeru Ishiba on Twitter
  • 石破 茂 on Facebook
  • Shigeru Ishiba on Instagram
  • イシバチャンネル's channel on YouTube
Political offices
Preceded by Director General of Japan Defense Agency
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party
Succeeded by