Famous People 
in Japan

Kan Naoto

Date of Birth October 10, 1946
Place of Birth Yamaguchi

Kan Naoto is a Japanese politician who currently serves as the Minister of Health and Welfare. He has been struggling against what is called "HIV suits problem." He formed the Democratic Party of Japan, "Minshu-tou", with the politician, Hatoyama Mikio to destroy the Japanese administration-centered politics.

When he was in the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan was in a situation where people, mainly students, were struggling against the revision of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, so he had to go to the college for five years. After he was graduated, he got a qualification as a patent agent and found a job with a patent office. The reasons why he is concerned about politics were that there was chaos due to the university unrest and he had participated in a symposium on land taxation. The former reasons gave him a feeling of distrusting the Japanese politics. The latter gave him one that he wanted to join the politics to change this taxation system. He was 30 years old when he ran for the House of Representatives for the first time. The next time, he joined to the Social Democratic Union, led by Eda Satsuki. He ran four times before he was finally elected.

A friend of his said "Naoto is a terribly earnest and unfunny man." His serious wrestling with the HIV suits problem gives us a feeling that he is earnest. On the other hand, he likes a scuba diving. He loves the sea and citizens. I think he is kind and warm-hearted.

He has a quick temper. When he was the Minister of the Health and welfare, he had another name, "ira Kan" (ira ira suru). For example, he threw materials at an executive of the Health and welfare.

While he works as the Minister of the Health and Welfare, he has to consider the general election. He didn't like the Japanese political system, the administration- centered politics, so he organized a new party, the Democratic Party of Japan, with Hatoyama Mikio to reform the system. I thought the DPJ would gather a lot of votes because he is very famous and popular in Japan. On October 20th, the general election was held. Of course, the LDP won, predominantly, 239 seats. The DPJ won 52 seats. This means the DPJ is the third biggest party, which I think is proper. I expect him to throw a stimulant into the Japanese political system.

References: Zinmeiziten

Reported by: Kuroki Masatoshi
Data verified by: Izumitani Takeshi

Date of Report: January 1997
Updated by: Shingo Takemura October, 1997

Back to the main page