Miyazawa's Notebooks: A Window into Postwar Japanese Politics

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Miyazawa's Notebooks: A Window into Postwar Japanese Politics

Former Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa meticulously documented his political life in 185 notebooks from 1966 to 2006. These notebooks, now entrusted to political scientist Takashi Mikuriya, provide an invaluable resource for historians studying Japan's postwar politics.

Each notebook contains two facing pages for each day. On the left, a secretary recorded Miyazawa's detailed schedule and meeting attendees. On the right, Miyazawa penned his thoughts on meetings, telephone conversations, and events. For instance, on October 11, 1991, he noted that the Takeshita faction's support had "largely decided the outcome" of his LDP presidential election victory.

Miyazawa's records offer insights into key historical moments. On March 19, 1993, after the arrest of LDP heavyweight Shin Kanemaru, Miyazawa remarked, "The arrest was unavoidable." He also documented the dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces to Cambodia in 1992 and his resignation as prime minister after the LDP's defeat in the 1993 Lower House election.

Mikuriya emphasizes the significance of Miyazawa's records, stating that they provide a unique glimpse into the workings of a leading postwar politician over several decades. By cross-referencing these records with other historical accounts, researchers can verify facts and gain a multifaceted understanding of Japan's political landscape.