TOKYO – Taro Aso, who was retained as deputy prime minister and finance minister, is a political heavyweight whose outspoken demeanor comes with a history of gaffes.
The 78-year-old is a close ally of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and has played a key role in implementing “Abenomics,” the policy mix aimed at lifting Japan’s economy out of deflationary stagnation through drastic monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and structural reforms.
Himself a former prime minister, Aso has in the past made eyebrow-raising statements. In 2013 and again in 2017, he made comments that could be taken as being sympathetic to Nazi Germany. He later retracted both remarks.
Aso, a grandson of former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, hails from Fukuoka Prefecture. The former skeet shooter who represented his country in the 1976 Montreal Olympics won his first Diet seat in 1979. He is also known for his love of panama hats and manga.