Feature

An aggressive agenda

The week's news at a glance.

Tokyo

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi moved quickly this week to push a tough, reformist agenda after easily winning re-election as leader of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Koizumi surprised many political observers by appointing a Cabinet dominated by economic reformers, including his controversial banking czar, Heizo Takenaka. Takenaka has helped push a policy of forcing Japan’s troubled banks to write off their nonperforming loans. Many among Japan’s insular financial and political elite have opposed such bitter medicine. In another key appointment, the prime minister named Sadakazu Tanigaki, a 58-year-old lawyer, to replace his ailing finance minister. Tanigaki is expected to try to tame the nation’s staggering debt by cutting spending and raising revenues.

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