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Tomiichi Murayama

Tomiichi Murayama
村山 富市
Murayama in June 1995
Prime Minister of Japan
In office
30 June 1994 – 11 January 1996
Monarch Akihito
Preceded by Tsutomu Hata
Succeeded by Ryutaro Hashimoto
Personal details
Born (1924-03-03) 3 March 1924
Ōita, Japan
Political party Social Democratic Party (1996-present)
Socialist Party of Japan (until 1996)
Spouse(s) Yoshie Murayama
Alma mater Meiji University

Tomiichi Murayama (村山 富市 Murayama Tomiichi, born 3 March 1924) is a retired Japanese politician who served as the 81st Prime Minister of Japan from 30 June 1994 to 11 January 1996. He was the head of the Social Democratic Party of Japan (until 1996, the Japanese Socialist Party) and the first socialist prime minister in nearly fifty years. He is most remembered today for his speech "On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the war's end", in which he publicly apologised for Imperial Japanese atrocities committed during World War II.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Career 2
  • Prime minister 3
  • After politics 4
  • Honours 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7

Early life and education

With translated information from the Japanese WorldHeritage

Murayama was born in Ōita Prefecture on 3 March 1924; his father was a fisherman.[1] He entered Meiji University in 1943 as a philosophy student, but was mobilised in 1944 and assigned to work in the Ishikawajima shipyards. Later that year, he was drafted into the Imperial Army and assigned to the 72nd Infantry of the 23rd Brigade of the 23rd Division as a private second class. He was demobilised following Japan's surrender with the rank of officer candidate.


Murayama was appointed secretary of the labor union in his company and entered the Japan Socialist Party, which his union supported. He began his political career as a member of the Ōita city council in 1955 and went on to serve three terms. In 1963 his supporters urged him to be a candidate for the Ōita prefectural assembly. He was elected three times successively. In 1972 he was elected to the House of Representatives of Japan.[2]

Murayama was known as a tough negotiator with a calm personality. In 1991 he was appointed chairman of the Diet Affairs Committee of his party, one of the eminent posts in any Japanese political party. In August 1993 after the general election, the Japan Socialist Party joined the cabinet until 1994. In October of the same year he was elected the head of the party.

Prime minister

Murayama became prime minister on 30 June 1994. The cabinet was based on a coalition consisting of the Japan Socialist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, and the New Party Sakigake.

Because of the unwieldy coalition, his leadership was not strong. His party had been opposed to the Security Pact between Japan and the United States, but he stated that this pact was in accordance with the Constitution of Japan and disappointed many of his Socialist supporters. His government was criticised for not dealing quickly with the Kobe earthquake that hit Japan on 17 January 1995.[3] Just two months later, on 20 March, the Aum Shinrikyo cult carried out the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway.

As the prime minister, he apologised for the atrocities committed by Japan during World War II.[4] In social policy, various reforms were carried out in areas such as labour rights, care for the elderly,[5] child support, and assistance for people with disabilities.[6] In 1995, a law on family-care leave was introduced which made it mandatory for employers to grant a maximum of three consecutive months leave to male and female employees who need to take constant care of a family member, and prohibited employers from dismissing employees for taking family-care leave.[7] Safety standards concerning mobile cranes were established in 1995, and amendments made to the Radiation Safety Law of 1960 and the Radiation Safety Law of 1957 in 1995 extended coverage to previously excluded rental business workers, rental business offices, and rental businesses.[8] Amendments made to the Radiation Hindrance Prevention Law of 1957 in 1995 extended the law to cover rental business workers, rental business offices, and rental businesses.[9] In July 1995, a law came into affect that imposed strict liability, or liability without fault, upon manufacturers and importers of defective products.[10][11] The Food Sanitation Law of 1995 introduced a comprehensive food safety system.[12] In 1995, an amendment to the Firearms and Swords Control Law made gun possession a more serious offence,[13] and the Science and Technology Basic Law passed that same year provided the framework of Japan’s science and technology policy.[14]

In 1995, the Mental Health Act was revised to improve psychiatric and medical treatment and psychiatric rehabilitation “and to ensure coordination among the mental health system and other health, social service, and administrative sectors.”[15] The Container and Package Recycling Law of 1995 prescribed “obligatory duties of business parties for recycling containers and packaging,"[16] while a 1995 amendment to the Mental Health Law introduced a system to provide a health and welfare handbook for people with mental disorders, while a Government Action Plan for Persons with Disabilities was launched that same year. In addition, new comprehensive employment measures were introduced.[17]

In the 1996 General Election, his party lost many seats in the House of Representatives. He expressed his wish to resign from the office of prime minister, but his supporters opposed. A few months later he resigned and was replaced by Ryutaro Hashimoto, the head of the Liberal Democratic Party.

After politics

In 2000, he retired from politics. Murayama and Mutsuko Miki traveled to North Korea in 2000 to promote better bilateral relations between the two countries.[18]

He became the president of the Asian Women's Fund, a quasi-government body that was set up to provide compensation for former comfort women.[19] After providing compensation and working on various projects the fund was dissolved on 31 March 2007.[20]


From the corresponding article in the Japanese WorldHeritage

  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers (2006)

See also


  1. ^ "Japan gets first Socialist PM in 46 years". The Independent. 30 June 1994. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  2. ^ "Japan's New Premier: A Sudden Arrival From the Political Margin". The Washington Post. 3 June 1994. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  3. ^ "Premier faces critics over Kobe relief". Times Union. 24 January 1995. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Japanese PM accused of double-speak". The Independent. 16 August 1995. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  5. ^ Robert Benewick; Marc Blecher; Sarah Cook (1 March 2003). Asian Politics in Development: Essays in Honour of Gordon White. Routledge. p. 240.  
  6. ^ "I. General Comments". Mofa. 15 December 1995. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Reforms". ISSA. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  8. ^
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  18. ^ "Mutsuko Miki, activist, wife of former prime minister, dies at 95". Asahi Shimbun. 4 August 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  19. ^ 8.5 million yen given to sex slave fund 2 Feb 2001 The Japan Times Retrieved 17 August 2012
  20. ^ Closing of the Asian Women's Fund Asian Women's Fund Online Museum Retrieved 17 August 2012
Political offices
Preceded by
Tsutomu Hata
Prime Minister of Japan
Succeeded by
Ryutaro Hashimoto
Party political offices
Preceded by
New post
Chair of the Social Democratic Party of Japan
Succeeded by
Takako Doi
Preceded by
Sadao Yamahana
Chair of the Japan Socialist Party
Succeeded by

This article incorporates text from OpenHistory.

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