My brother, far more knowledgable about Japanese politics than I am, says that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's move to dissolve Japan's Lower House and call for new elections is a huge political risk that could ensure his Liberal Democratic Party's dominance for the next decade, or destroy them. What's the driving issue? Postal deregulation, just like I wrote about a few days ago. Says the Asahi article:

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi dissolved the Lower House and called a snap election Monday after the Upper House dealt him a crushing blow by rejecting his package of postal privatization bills. ...

Koizumi told a meeting of LDP leaders right after the bills were voted down: "I will smash the old LDP and create a new one. I will not join hands with the old LDP. The party will not endorse as LDP candidates anyone who voted against the bills. If the LDP wins in the Lower House election, then those Upper House lawmakers will realize they were wrong."

Koizumi told a news conference Monday night, "I want to ask the voters if they think postal privatization is needed, even though the Upper House voted the bills down."

Koizumi also made waves by being the first Japanese leader since, I suppose, Emperor Hirohito to deploy Japanese military forces outside the country to help the Coalition in Iraq. That, plus his deregulation scheme, makes me root for him, though I know little else about him or his politics.



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