(1872-1951). Statesman. A career diplomat, Shidehara was ambassador to the Netherlands (1914-15), vice foreign minister (1915), and ambassador to the United States (1919-22). He served as foreign minister (1924-27, 1929-31), pursuing a conciliatory policy toward both China and the Soviet Union contrary to the desires of the militarists. After World War II he became head of the Progressive party and was prime minister from October 1945 to May 1946. His conservative economic policies and family ties to the Mitsubishi interests made him unpopular with the leftist movement. He became speaker of the lower house of the Diet in 1949 and served as such until his death. (from The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2001-05 Columbia University Press).
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