(born December 4 1940
) is a Japanese
politician who has served in the Diet of Japan
since 1980. Kyuma graduated from the University of Tokyo
in 1964 and worked for the Ministry of Agriculture
. He was elected to the Nagasaki Prefectural
Assembly in 1971 serving three terms before being elected to the Diet as a member of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
Kyuma served as the Minister for Defense between 1996 and 1998 under Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto
. He served in a variety of LDP posts in Junichiro Koizumi
's cabinet. He again became responsible for defense in September 2006.
In September 2006, shortly after he was appointed Defense Minister, Kyuma stated that the Chinese military was a concern
, contradicting earlier comments that he had made referring to China's military as a threat.
In December 2006, Kyuma claimed that although former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi supported the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the invasion did not have the official support of the Japanese government. He later had to withdraw his remarks, admitting that the Japanese "Cabinet officially adopted a unified view supporting the U.S.-led war. On January 24 2007 he said that the U.S. decision to invade Iraq was a mistake.
In January 2007 he criticized the United States over not getting the approval of Okinawa's governor during efforts to relocate the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. The base and its relocation has been a source of friction between the residents of Okinawa and the U.S. government.
He resigned as Defense Minister on July 3 2007
for remarks made at Reitaku University
, Chiba Prefecture
on June 30
. Kyuma said "I now have come to accept in my mind that in order to end the war, it could not be helped
that an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki
and that countless numbers of people suffered great tragedy." After appearing on a Fuji TV
morning news show on July 1
, saying he did not think an apology would be necessary, he apologized later the same day. When this would not calm the critics, Kyuma finally submitted his resignation on July 3
. Asked about the reason for his resignation, Kyuma is quoted as saying that he did not want his comments to become a "minus" for the Prime Minister. Yuriko Koike
was appointed his successor the same day.