26 August 2011
Last updated at 08:58
Junichiro Koizumi was first elected to office in 2001 and became an extremely popular, albeit controversial, politician. In 2005, he led the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to one of its largest victories in history. He is Japan's only prime minister in four decades to have served for more than five years.
The LDP's Shinzo Abe was the youngest prime minister in post-war Japanese history but struggled to fill the shoes of his predecessor. He stepped down in September 2007, on the first anniversary of his appointment, following a parliamentary defeat, cabinet resignations and a scandal over the mishandling of the nation's pension funds.
Yasuo Fukuda was Japan's 91st prime minister and was considered a moderate, consensus-building politician. However, he admitted having no charisma and was unable to overcome political deadlock. He resigned just a few days shy of one year in office in 2008.
Taro Aso formerly served as Japan's foreign minister and was known to be a gruff and outspoken character. In 2009, he became only the second LDP prime minister in more than half a century to lose an election.
Yukio Hatoyama was the first leader from the Democratic Party of Japan to hold the premiership. He angered voters after he reneged on a promise to move a US base off the Japanese island of Okinawa and stepped down in June last year.
Naoto Kan, Japan's fifth prime minister since 2006, announced he was standing down amid criticism of his handling of the 11 March earthquake and tsunami, and the ensuing nuclear crisis. He lasted just over 14 months in office.