|First||Name: Takeshi Ruchang|
|Second||Position: Crown Prince and Shogun|
|Fourth||Allegiance: Democratic Party of the Empire of Japan|
|Sixth||Died: 12 January 2107|
Takeshi Ruchang was the Prime Minister, later dictatorial Shogun of the Japanese Empire. A cruel and ambitious man, he engineered military takeovers of East Asia under the guise of humanitarian relief that led to the Vietnam War and Pacific War. In late 2105, Ruchang was appointed Shogun and proceeded to consolidate personal and political power, suspending the constitution and beginning a crackdown on opposition parties, culminating in the dissolution of parliament in 2106.
In the summer of 2106, Ruchang, then 56, married 19-year-old Princess Sutematsu, establishing himself as a member of the Imperial family and positioning him as a potential successor to the Emperor. Despite maintaining high domestic approval, Ruchang's leadership turned the country into an international pariah, and he was charged with war crimes under United Nations Resolution 14. During the civil war sparked by the poison food crisis, Ruchang was assassinated by his brother and rebel leader Takeshi Shiro.
Rise to Power
Ruchang was born in 2050. His mother was Chinese and his father claimed descent from the Tokugawa family. He joined the Democratic Party and became an MP at an unknown date, serving as Minister of Justice in 2095. He was a chess player and karate expert who wrote Wuxia novels as a hobby. His brother, Takeshi Shiro, was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army and colluded in Ruchang's quest for power. Ruchang became Prime Minister in 2098 and began an aggressive campaign to expand and modernize the Japanese army. Ruchang tried to turn the government into his personal dictatorship. The invasions of China and Vietnam were intended to supply manpower and raw materials to bootstrap the Japanese economy, and thereby earn political capital.
Interventions in China and Vietnam
In 2104 Japan launched a full-scale invasion of China in what it claimed was a peacekeeping mission to end anarchy and warlordism and restore "free trade". The operation immediately came under international scrutiny as its methodology resembled military conquest rather than humanitarian aid, and the United Arab Republic denounced what it claimed was an opportunistic land grab. Following reports of mass atrocities in Vietnam, Japan launched an identical mission to the region that provoked similar controversy after state news reports suggested Japan was using the 'freed' citizens for cheap labor. In order to ensure further international intervention adhered to humanitarian auspices, the United Nations established a peacekeeping mission shortly afterward. Japan refused to recognize the mission's legitimacy, and confusion over the Rosemary incident led to Japan's suspension in the General Assembly in 2105. Ruchang decried what he called an "international conspiracy" masterminded by the United Arab Republic, and Japan withdrew from the United Nations shortly afterward.
Path to Defeat
Consolidation of Power
On 18 July, Japan launched a full-scale amphibious assault on Ho Chi Minh City, beginning the Vietnam War. Under the pretext of total war and national emergency, Ruchang began consolidating power and silencing the opposition. A resolution delivered to the Diet with Imperial assent that winter suspended elections, appointing Ruchang supreme commander of the armed forces and conveying the title of Shogun. He subsequently took personal command of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Communist Party staged a protest against the coup that was violently suppressed, resulting in 300 deaths, 700 injuries, and 3000 arrests, and allowed Ruchang to institute martial law. Under those emergency powers, Ruchang's government turned expressly authoritarian, beginning brutal crackdowns on political dissent, targeting left-wing parties and pacifists specifically.
The IJN locked down the South China Sea as the Vietnam expedition launched a mass assault on the Northeast Region in a failed attempt to seize a secret nuclear stockpile before UN forces could remove it. While state propaganda maintained the Japanese army was winning on all fronts, its only major victory was against the Greco-Roman landing at Taiwan that crippled both countries' militaries. On all other fronts it entered into relative stalemate; by 2106 it had lost control of southern Vietnam and was expelled from its brief foothold in Tianjin. Hinting at Japan's growing desperation, it began using both local civilians and prisoners of war for slave labour in construction of hasty defensive networks. It also deliberately infected both captured and killed enemy soldiers with biological agents, returning them to the front in a bid to stall the Allied advance as the army prepared to retreat from Vietnam to reinforce the foundering Chinese front.
Defeat and Death
Having failed to produce a clear victory, Ruchang began to suffer a decline in popular support that intensified following a major earthquake in Tokyo in the Summer of 2106. In the Fall of 2106 the government began arming far-right militias to suppress peace activists and opposition parties, provoking waves of murder and violence resulting in tens of thousands of deaths. A later bombing of the Diet, widely suspected to be a false-flag operation, was used as an excuse to attack the Liberal Party, sparking another wave of public violence. On 14 September, Japan launched a nuclear missile on the Egyptian capital city Cairo. This combined with the systematic destruction of Hanoi was the final straw for the international community and led the UN to officially declare Japan a rogue state, and Ruchang and his government were charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.
That same season, Ruchang, 56, married Princess Sutematsu, 19-year-old granddaughter to the Emperor, establishing himself as a potential successor. Ruchang planned to use an anticipated victory against the Allied fleet to shame Emperor Iwao and usurp the throne. Foreign scholars ridiculed the marriage, citing Ruchang's Chinese heritage as proof of illegitimacy. Nevertheless, Ruchang continued to amass power after the poison food crisis led to the deaths of many government ministers whose offices he promptly seized. The sabotage, initially pinned on the Allies, led to a brief surge in popular support; Ruchang was declared Crown Prince and heir apparent, dissolved the Diet and banned all parties. By this time, any sense of governmental stability had been eradicated by totalitarian despotism.
The Allies attempted to broker an end to the war, calling for the government's capitulation and the surrender of Ruchang et al. to an international criminal court. Emboldened by international confusion surrounding the poison crisis and criticism of the terms of surrender, Japan refused to submit, deploying even more troops to the Chinese front. However, with Japan's fighting capability on the verge of collapse by year's end and Ruchang stubbornly refusing to surrender, his brother Takeshi Shiro turned on him, provoking a brief but bloody civil war. Shiro executed Ruchang on 12 January 2107 as he attempted to flee the country, and the Japanese Empire unravelled soon after.