In the 1930s, Gotō was appointed to a seat in the House of Peers in the Diet of Japan. He served as Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries between 1932 and 1934 in the cabinet of Prime Minister Makoto Saito, and was later Home Minister in the cabinet of Keisuke Okada.
Immediately after the February 26 Incident, Gotō served as acting Prime Minister while Prime Minister Okada was in hiding from his attempted assassins. He was chairman of the Taisei Yokusankai from 1941-1943, and under the administration of Hideki Tojo, he served as a Minister of State.
Arrested by the American occupation authorities after the surrender of Japan, he was held in Sugamo Prison in Tokyo awaiting prosecution for war crimes, but was released in 1948 without having come to trial. From April 1953 to June 1959, he served as a member of House of Councillors in the post-war Diet of Japan.