Yasuhiro Nakasone, who has died aged 101, did more than any of his post-war predecessors to raise Japan’s political profile to match its formidable economic strength.
In an age of outstanding political leaders – Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Helmut Kohl, Mikhail Gorbachev and François Mitterrand – he was not out of place, as his chairing of the G7 summit in Tokyo in 1986 demonstrated. “Nakasone put Japan on the world map and the rest of the world on Japan’s map” was how Time magazine summarised his achievement in 1987.
In all this he provided a marked and, to the Western world, welcome contrast to the previous incumbent, the notoriously passive Zenko Suzuki, who said he would rather his country…
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