He was born in Illorsuit, a small settlement near Uummannaq in the Qaasuitsup municipality, as son of commercial agent Kristian Johansen and district midwife Elisabeth Johansen; his mother had been the first female country council member from 1959–1975.

In 1970, Johansen finished his education as a teacher, and the following year he was elected for the Greenland country council, the most powerful local authority in Greenland prior to the creation of the Landsting.

He has been appointed a Commander of the Danish Order of the Dannebrog and the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, as well as two types of the Nersornaat, the silver Nersornaat and the golden Nersornaat (the Greenland Medal for Meritorious Service).

Order of Dannebrog, Knight Commander of the Norwegian Star.