Foreign News: HARD MAN

SQUARE-JAWED Hayato Ikeda, 60, is a hard man with a yen and a free man with his tongue. Back in 1951, as Finance Minister under Premier Shigeru Yoshida, he stirred up a storm by suggesting that if peasants could not afford rice under his austerity program, "then let them eat barley." A year later, while waging war on the black market, he lost his post as Trade Minister for remarking that "if black marketeers are driven to suicide by my methods, it can't be helped."

Ikeda was born in Hiroshima prefecture, is descended from six generations of wealthy sake makers. In early...

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