International Trade Organization
(1841-1909) Japanese politician, prime minister 1887, 1892–96, 1898, 1900–01. He was a key figure in the modernization of Japan and was involved in the Meiji restoration 1866–68 and in official missions to study forms of government in the US and Europe in the 1870s and 1880s. As minister for home affairs, he helped draft the Meiji constitution of 1889.
Ito was a samurai from Choshu, a feudal domain that rebelled against the shogunate in the 1850s–60s. In 1863 he became one of the first Japanese to study in England, and in 1871–73 he was a member of a diplomatic mission to Europe and the US. Given responsibility for drafting the constitution, he went abroad again 1882–83 to study European models. He was appointed a government adviser 1885 and went on to become prime minister many times. While resident-general in Korea, he was assassinated by Korean nationalists, which led to Japan's annexation of that country.
Politically Ito was a moderate, favoring negotiation and compromise.