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« 09.11.01 | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 167 -- Mary Landrieu's 2008 Hopes. »

Koizumi Wins Mandate For Reform.

Chalk up yet another win for the good guys.

A little over a month ago, WILLisms.com noted Japan's looming election, which was to be a referendum on the Prime Minister Koizumi's plans for the privatization of Japan's lethargic postal system (and, to a much lesser extent, about Japanese foreign policy).

But this ain't about delivering mail. The Japanese postal system is more like a central bank, with trillions in assets. $3 trillion, to be exact. Just for reference, the entire British economy in 2004 was only worth a little more than 2 trillion dollars (.pdf).

In essence, the vote was about whether Japan would pursue a free market economy, or languish in pork barrel oblivion. It was about breaking out of a cycle of economic stagnation dating back more than a decade and competing more effectively in the global economy.

Koizumi promised major reform, a la Conan the Barbarian:

"I will crush the old LDP and create a new one. I will not join hands with the old LDP," the Yomiuri Shimbun quoted Koizumi as telling LDP leaders following yesterday's vote.

"I will be merciless. I will decide (candidates) depending only on whether they are against or for the plan to privatize the postal system," the Mainichi Shimbun paper quoted him saying.

And, judging by the results, Koizumi was merciless. His LDP hammered opponents into smithereens:


After the results were tallied, Koizumi had won an impressive victory over his opponents:

The LDP's final tally stood at 296 seats in the Lower House, well above the 241 seats needed for a majority and the 249 seats it held when Koizumi dissolved the chamber last month. Optimism about the results sent Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei stock index surging 1.8 percent to 12,915.53 points in early trading....

The DPJ took a disheartening plunge on Sunday to 113 seats, from 175.

And Koizumi was the driving force behind the entire thing, having risked his entire political career on a single snap election:


Riding Sun blog explains:

Japan's political and bureaucratic structure is like a trapezoid, with no one person accountable at the top. A system like this, with no one to kick out of office when things go wrong, breeds apathy and inertia. True, Koizumi may not have been directly elected Prime Minister. And Japan's ministries, laden with unelected bureaucrats, are still immensely powerful. But by personally investing himself in a bold reform policy, Koizumi is turning the trapezoid into a pyramid.

Jim Rose notes:

You just have to admire Prime Minister Koizumi...he's got a set of grapes the likes of which Japan hasn't seen since Godzilla.


And Koizumi's victory also strengthens U.S.-Japanese ties, and bolsters the American coalition in the War On Terror. Longterm, a stronger Japan is imperative for the United States in our looming geostrategic chess game with China. A win for the good guys indeed.

Posted by Will Franklin · 11 September 2005 11:07 PM


Leadership and courage go hand in hand, and Koziumi has both.

Posted by: Am I A Pundit Now? at September 11, 2005 11:35 PM