Sanae Takaichi

Sanae Takaichi (高市 早苗, Takaichi Sanae, born 7 March 1961) is a Japanese politician who has served in the House of Representatives since 2005. She is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, and served in several Cabinet posts under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Sanae Takaichi
高市 早苗
Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications
In office
11 September 2019  16 September 2020
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Preceded byMasatoshi Ishida
Succeeded byRyota Takeda
In office
3 September 2014  3 August 2017
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Preceded byYoshitaka Shindō
Succeeded bySeiko Noda
Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs
In office
26 September 2006  26 September 2007
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Preceded byYuriko Koike
Succeeded byFumio Kishida
Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy
In office
26 September 2006  26 September 2007
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Preceded byIwao Matsuda
Succeeded byFumio Kishida
Minister of State for Gender Equality and Social Affairs
In office
26 September 2006  26 September 2007
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Preceded byKuniko Inoguchi
Succeeded byYōko Kamikawa
Minister of State for Food Safety
In office
26 September 2006  26 September 2007
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Preceded byIwao Matsuda
Succeeded byShinya Izumi
Minister of State for Innovation
In office
26 September 2006  26 September 2007
Prime MinisterShinzō Abe
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
Member of the House of Representatives
for Nara's 2nd district
Assumed office
11 September 2005
Preceded byMakoto Taki
Personal details
Born (1961-03-07) 7 March 1961 (age 60)
Yamatokōriyama, Nara, Japan
Political partyIndependent (Before 1994)
New Frontier Party (1994–1996)
Liberal Democratic Party (1996–present)
Spouse(s)Taku Yamamoto (div. 2017)
Alma materKobe University
WebsiteGovernment website

Early life

Born and raised in the city of Nara, Takaichi graduated from Unebi Senior High School, Kobe University, and the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management. In 1987, she moved to the United States to work for Democratic U.S. Representative Patricia Schroeder as a Congressional Fellow.[1] When she returned to Japan in 1989, she gained attention from the mass media as a legislative analyst with experience in the US Congress, and wrote books based on the experience. In 1992, she formed the Kansai Hi-Vision Consortium and presided as the first chairperson.

Political career

Takaichi was first elected to the House of Representatives in the 1993 Japanese general election.[2] She joined the "Liberals" study group of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), led by Koji Kakizawa, which became part of the New Frontier Party.

In 1996, Takaichi ran as sanctioned candidate from New Frontier Party and reelected to the House of Representatives (lower house). However New Frontier Party lost nationally. On November 5, she responded to recruitment from the Secretary-General of LDP Koichi Kato, and, then, joined the LDP. Act of switching the party, two months after winning the election with anti-LDP votes resulted in heavy criticism from the New Frontier Party members.

In the LDP, Takaichi belonged to the Mori Faction (formally, the Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyū-kai) and she served as a Parliamentary Vice Minister for the Ministry of International Trade and Industry under Keizō Obuchi cabinet.[2] She also served as chairman of Education and Science Committee. In 2000, House of Representatives election she was placed in the first position in proportional representation ballot from LDP and easily won her third term. In 2002 she was appointed as the Senior Vice Minister of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry under Junichiro Koizumi.

In the 2003 Japanese general election, she was defeated in the Nara 1st district by Democratic Party lawmaker Sumio Mabuchi. She moved to the nearby city of Ikoma and won a seat representing the Nara 2nd district in the 2005 Japanese general election.[3] In 2004, while she was out of the Diet, she took an economics faculty position at Kinki University.[2]

She is affiliated with the nationalist organization Nippon Kaigi.[4]

First Abe government

Takaichi served as Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs, Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy, Minister of State for Innovation, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Gender Equality[5] and Minister of State for Food Safety in the Japanese Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.[2]

Second Abe government

After the LDP's victory in the 2012 Japanese general election, Takaichi was appointed to head the party's Policy Research Council. In January 2013, she recommended that Abe issue an "Abe Statement" to replace the Murayama Statement that apologized for the damage inflicted by Japan through its colonial rule.[6]

Takaichi was selected as Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications to replace Yoshitaka Shindō on September 3, 2014. After she was named as cabinet minister, a photograph was published of her together with National Socialist Japanese Workers' Party leader Kazunari Yamada; she denied any link with him and said she wouldn't have accepted the picture had she known Yamada's background.[7] She was also shown promoting a controversial book praising Adolf Hitler's electoral talents in 1994.[8]

Takaichi was among the three members of the cabinet to visit the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in 2014,[9] became the first sitting cabinet member to attend the shrine's autumn festival in 2016,[10] and was one of four cabinet ministers who visited Yasukuni on the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in August 2020.[11]

In the December 2014 general election, she won an overwhelming 96,000-vote majority in her district, defeating the runner-up by 58,000 votes.[12]

In February 2016, Takaichi commented that the government could suspend the operations of broadcasters that aired politically biased content.[13] The U.S. State Department later described this as "[giving] rise to concerns about increasing government pressure against critical and independent media."[14]

An electoral redistricting in 2017, which Takaichi oversaw as internal affairs minister, eliminated one of Nara Prefecture's districts and resulted in Takaichi again potentially facing off with her former rival Mabuchi.[3]

Takaichi was replaced by Seiko Noda on August 3, 2017, but returned to the Internal Affairs and Communications post on September 11, 2019, replacing Masatoshi Ishida. Among other initiatives, she put pressure on NHK to cut its viewing fees and reform its governance,[15] and oversaw the distribution of cash handouts during the COVID-19 pandemic.[16]

Personal life

Takaichi married Taku Yamamoto, a fellow member of the House of Representatives, in 2004. They agreed to a divorce in July 2017, with Takaichi citing differing political views and aspirations as the reason for the divorce.[17]


  1. "プロフィール | 高市早苗(たかいちさなえ)". Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  2. "The Cabinet: TAKAICHI Sanae". Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  3. Johnston, Eric (2017-05-21). "Redrawing of Nara's electoral map may force internal affairs chief into rematch with DP's Mabuchi". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  4. "Abe's reshuffle promotes right-wingers",; accessed 18 June 2015.
  5. Although the term "Youth Affairs" is used in its official English title, the original Japanese title shōshika (少子化) is more aptly translated as "diminishing birth rate issue".
  6. Martin, Alexander (2013-01-09). "Official Urges Abe to Review War Apologies". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  7. "Neo-Nazi photos pose headache for Shinzo Abe" (The Guardian - 9 Sept. 2014)
  8. "Japan: Adolf Hitler Book Haunts Interior Minister Sanae Takaichi" (Umberto Bacchi, International Business Times, 11 September 2014)
  9. "3 Japan Cabinet ministers visit controversial Yasukuni Shrine a day after PM Abe's offering",, 18 October 2014.
  10. "Abe aide prays for world peace during visit to war-linked Yasukuni Shrine". The Japan Times. 2016-10-19. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  11. "EDITORIAL: Ministerial visits to Yasukuni cast doubts on Abe's views on history". The Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  12. Johnston, Eric (2014-12-21). "In no-surprise poll, parties' main players re-elected in Kinki". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  13. Osaki, Tomohiro (2016-02-09). "Sanae Takaichi warns that government can shut down broadcasters it feels are biased". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  15. "Communications ministry asks NHK to cut viewing fees further". The Japan Times. 2020-02-06. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  16. "Japan kicks off application process for ¥100,000 virus-relief handouts". The Japan Times. 2020-05-01. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  17. "高市総務相「仮面夫婦」だった自民党の山本拓衆院議員と離婚 〈週刊朝日〉". AERA dot. (アエラドット) (in Japanese). 2017-07-19. Retrieved 2020-09-16.