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Hiroya Masuda

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Hiroya Masuda

Japanese Politician

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Hiroya Masuda (増田 寛也, Masuda Hiroya, born December 20, 1951) is a Japanese politician who was Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications from August 2007 to September 2008.


A native of Tokyo, he graduated from the University of Tokyo and served as governor of Iwate Prefecture from 1995 to 2007. While serving as Iwate's governor, Masuda developed a reputation as a reformist by cutting spending through personnel cuts and took the initiative in introducing an industrial waste tax system. Masuda was reappointed as Minister of Internal Affairs when Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda reshuffled the cabinet on August 1, 2008. In the Cabinet of Prime Minister Taro Aso, appointed on September 24, 2008, Masuda was replaced by Kunio Hatoyama.

Masuda wrote a 2013 article in Chuo Koron magazine arguing that growth in Tokyo was leading to population decay in other regions of Japan, further describing Tokyo as a "population black hole" due to the difficulty of raising children there. Political and corporate leaders in Japan were jolted by the conclusions of a 2014 book by Masuda called Local Extinctions, a detailed report of population changes that used the latest official figures from the National Institution of Population and Social Security Research to show that 896 cities, towns and villages throughout Japan were facing extinction by 2040. At first glance, the book simply repeated what earlier reports had concluded; however, it also included the percentages by which child-bearing women between the ages of 20 and 40 were expected to decline in each and every city, town and village.

Masuda was approached in 2016 by twenty-one of the twenty-three Tokyo ward mayors to run for Governor of Tokyo in the July 2016 election. The Tokyo branch of the Liberal Democratic Party threw its official support behind Masuda, warning members that they would be reprimanded if they supported rival Yuriko Koike (also an LDP member).


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