Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi called for early elections this week, after the Diet struck down his biggest reform effort. Japan, like some European countries, offers banking services such as savings accounts and automatic bill-paying at post offices. Koizumi planned to privatize the financial activities of the postal service to form the world’s largest bank, a move he said would shrink the bloated bureaucracy. After some members of his own Liberal Democratic Party opposed the privatization, Koizumi dissolved the legislature and set elections for next month—a vote that will serve as a referendum on his reforms, but could toss his party from power. “Four years ago, I said I’d change the LDP,” Koizumi said. “And if it doesn’t change, I’ll destroy it.”
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.
Sign up to our 10 Things You Need to Know Today newsletter
A free daily digest of the biggest news stories of the day - and the best features from our website
What does a slowdown in payroll additions mean for the coming year?
Today's Big Question New private payrolls were well below expectations this November, according to one report
By Justin Klawans, The Week US Published
Sen. Warren's food fight over a potential 'big sandwich' monopoly
Talking Point A private equity firm's attempted Subway takeover has federal regulators salivating.
By Rafi Schwartz, The Week US Published
US life expectancy rose in 2022 but not to pre-pandemic levels
Speed Read Life expectancy is slowly crawling back up
By Devika Rao, The Week US Published