Sato, Eisaku

Sato, Eisaku āsäˈko͞o säˈtō [key], 1901–75, Japanese politician, prime minister (1964–72), brother of Nobusuke Kishi. After receiving a law degree from Tokyo Imperial Univ. (1924) he entered the ministry of railways, serving there until 1947, when he was appointed vice minister of transportation. He left the transportation ministry in 1948 and entered politics as a Liberal-Democratic member of the lower house of the Diet. He held a variety of ministerial posts in the next several governments, including minister of construction (1952–53), minister of finance (1958–60), and minister of science and technology (1963–64). In 1964 he succeeded Hayato Ikeda as prime minister when ill health forced the latter to resign. Although inexperienced in international affairs, Sato pursued a vigorous foreign policy during his term in office. He negotiated an agreement (1965) that called for the normalization of South Korean–Japanese relations, and in 1969 he signed a treaty with the United States that led to the reestablishment (1972) of Japanese sovereignty in Okinawa. However, Sato did not anticipate the public outcry against a provision in the Okinawa agreement that allowed U.S. forces to remain on the island, and he was forced to resign in 1972 shortly after the treaty took effect. Sato was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974.

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