Akiko Santō

Akiko Santo (山東 昭子, Santō Akiko, born 11 May 1942) is a Japanese politician of the Liberal Democratic Party, a member of the House of Councillors in the Diet (national legislature).

Akiko Santō
山東 昭子
President of the House of Councillors of Japan
Assumed office
1 August 2019
Preceded byChūichi Date
Vice President of the House of Councillors of Japan
In office
7 August 2007  30 July 2010
Preceded byAkira Imaizumi
Succeeded byHidehisa Otsuji
Member of House of Councillors
Assumed office
ConstituencyNational PR
In office
ConstituencyNational PR
In office
ConstituencyNational district (1974–1986)
National PR (1986–1992)
Personal details
Born (1942-05-11) 11 May 1942
Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan
Political partyLiberal Democratic
Alma materBunka Gakuin

Background and career

A native of Tokyo and graduate of Bunka Gakuin, Santo is the grand-niece of Kodama Ryōtarō (September 1872 – October 25, 1921), a member of the House of Representatives.[1]

Santo was elected to the House of Councillors for the first time in 1974 after working as an actress and reporter. Santo was Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Environment (Ohira Cabinet), and State Minister and Director General of Science and Technology Agency (Kaifu Cabinet, 1990–91). She became Vice President of the House of Councillors in 2007, and chaired the Joint Plenary Meeting of Party Members of Both Houses of the Diet.[2]

The Senkaku episode

Santo played a role in the sale of 3 of the Senkaku Islands. She'd known the landowner (Kurihara family) for 30 years, and in 2011 he told her that he wanted to sell to Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara (whose nationalistic book he liked), instead of to the Government and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. The later proposed land swap, the former cash, and eventually the state bought the land for $25.5 million in 2012.[3][4]

Like Ishihara, Santo is affiliated to the openly revisionist lobby Nippon Kaigi, which claims Japan's ownership of these islands,[5] that are also claimed by China (as Diaoyu).


  1. Official Gazette No. 2773, October 28, 1921
  2. Profile on the LDP website: jimin.jp/english/profile/members/114750.html
  3. "INSIGHT: Main battle over Senkaku isles waged between Ishihara, Noda Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine" - Asahi Shimbun - Sep 3, 2012
  4. "How debts and double-dealing sparked Japan-China islets row" - Reuters - Nov 11, 2012
  5. Nippon Kaigi website
  • "参議院議員: 山東 昭子" (in Japanese). JANJAN. Archived from the original on 2007-12-08. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
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