Prime Minister from 1924-1926
Cabinet list Kato Takaaki I cabinet
Cabinet list Kato Takaaki II cabinet
Tenure as Prime Minster: 597 days.
Born in Nagoya, Aichi

Kato joined the Mitsubishi company and enjoyed the patronage of Iwasaki Yataro, the company's founder. After two years of study in Britain, he became an assistant manager in the Mitsubishi home office in 1885 and married Iwasaki's eldest daughter the following year.
Kato turned to government service in 1887, becoming private secretary to Foreign Minister Okuma Shigenobu in 1888 and participating in plans for the revision of the Unequal Treaties, which remained without success. He resigned in opposition to the nationalization of the railways, which hurt the Mitsubishi interests, and remained out of office until 1908, when he was reappointed ambassador to London. Recalled in 1913, he became foreign minister for the third time, in the short-lived cabinet of the unpopular new prime minister, Katsura Taro. Kato then reorganized the Constitutional Association of Friends (Rikken Doshi-kai), created by Katsura, and renamed the party the Constitutional Party (Kenseikai), of which he became chairman in 1913. Under Kato's leadership, the Constitutional Party became the major opposition to the more conservative Friends of Constitutional Government Party (Rikken Seiyukai).
In April 1914 Kato again took over the foreign ministry under his old patron Okuma. He was responsible for Japan's decision to enter World War I, which angered the genro (elder statesmen), with whom he had not fully consulted (particularly Yamagata Aritomo). Kato aroused further controversy in January 1915 when he sent the so-called Twenty-One Demands to China, resulting in greatly increased privileges and industrial rights there for Japan and sparking domestic and foreign opposition. After the March election, Kato resigned in protest of Okuma's corrupt tactics at the polls. In 1916 he was elected president of the newly formed party Kenseikai, which built its program around extension of suffrage, opposition to the genro, and concession to growing popular demands for reform.
In June 1924 Kato became prime minister at the head of a three-party coalition cabinet. Compared with the other cabinets of the Taisho period, its legislative accomplishments were significant. The Universal Manhood Suffrage Law of April 1925 finally granted the vote to almost all male citizens over the age of 25. On the other hand, the Peace Preservation Law of 1925, which had to be introduced in order to satisfy the conservative camp, aimed at the repression of radical political organizations, had been passed only two months earlier. However, parallel with efforts to modernize the army and limit the army's size, military training was introduced in middle and higher schools. Kato died in office in 1926.

Kato Takaaki (Komei), 1860-1920