Takaaki Kato

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Takaaki Kato (1860-1926) was a Japanese businessman and civilian government official; supportive of constitutional rather than military government, who served as Prime Minister between 1924 and 1926.

Graduating first in his class from the Law Department of Tokyo University, he entered Mitsubishi Corporation. In 1886 he married a daughter of Yataro Iwasaki, its Chairman. Later, he entered government service and held the posts of director of the Banking Bureau in the Finance Ministry, minister to Great Britain.

In 1900, he became the foreign minister in the fourth Ito government. After his 1902 election to the lower house of the Diet, he was president of the Tokyo Nichinichi Shinbun newspaper (now part of Mainichi shinbun), foreign minister for the first Saionji government, ambassador to the United Kingdom, and foreign minister of the third Katsura and second Okuma governments. During the Okuma government, he presented the Twenty-One Demands to China.

In 1915, the Emperor named him to the House of Peers in the Diet. "He became president of the Kenseikai (Constitutional Association) in the following year. In 1924 he assumed the office of prime minister for the so-called "Goken Sanpa Naikaku" (Cabinet based on three pro-Constitution factions). In the following year, he had the Universal Manhood Suffrage Law and Peace Preservation Law enacted and concluded the Soviet-Japanese Basic Convention."[1]

Some called his cabinet the "Mitsubishi government", and, indeed, he signed a treaty with Soviet Union, which obtained oil concessions, in northern Sakhalin, for the zabaitsu.[2]

Chosu leader Giichi Tanaka, in 1924, joined with some Kenseito party civilians to try to purge the growing Satsuma influence in the army. They were able to get an Army reorganization and to oust the Kiyoura Cabinet, replacing it with Kato's.

His government referred to the Army reorganization as a routine economy measure, and focused on other policies. Separately, War Minister Kazushige Ugaki, in an ostensible demilitarization of the Army, managed to retain more Satsuma officers than had been promised.[3]


  1. Kato, Takaaki, National Diet Library
  2. Edwin P. Hoyt (1985), The Militarists: the Rise of Japanese Militarism since WWII, Donald I. Fine, ISBN 0917657179, p. 72
  3. David Bergamini (1971), Japan's Imperial Conspiracy, Morrow, pp. 340-341