Katsura, Taro

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Taro Katsura (tärō´ kät´sōōrä), 1847–1913, Japanese statesman. A Choshu clansman, and a protégé of Aritomo Yamagata, he served as war minister, then (1901–6) as prime minister. During that administration, with the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in 1902 and the defeat (1904–5) of Russia, Japan emerged as the major power in East Asia and gained effective control over Korea. In the Taft-Katsura agreement of 1905, the United States recognized that control. In 1906, Katsura resigned because of public dissatisfaction with the Portsmouth Treaty. As prime minister again (1908–11), he annexed Korea and engaged in a struggle with the Diet over expansion of the military budget. His reappointment as prime minister in 1912, after the overthrow of Kimmochi Saionji for failure to approve increased army spending, was widely interpreted as an example of genro manipulation. The major parliamentary parties united in opposition, organized mass demonstrations, and passed a nonconfidence motion. Katsura lost support of the genro when he attempted to form a new party and sought imperial intervention to rescind the nonconfidence motion. He was forced to resign.