Koizumi Wins Big

It would seem that being an unabashedly pro-American leader isn’t such a bad thing after all. Following on the electoral victories of Tony Blair in Britain and John Howard in Australia, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has scored a major electoral win, as his Liberal Democratic Party has two-thirds majority in the lower house of the Japanese government.

Japanese politics badly needs the shakeup that Mr. Koizumi will provide. Koizumi is a true reformer who is in the process of privatizing key sectors of the Japanese economy and reforming Japan’s structural economic problems. Under Koizumi’s leadership, the stagnant Japanese economy has begun to rebound. The latest GDP figures show the Japanese economy has expanded three times more than predicted with a solid 3.3% GDP growth in the second quarter. After years of slow economic growth and even recession, this is excellent news for Koizumi. When Koizumi started in 2001, he faced an economy that was shrinking, and after four years, every key indicator in the Japanese economy is on the mend.

Koizumi has been a strong ally of America, and is one of the world leaders with the closest relationship with President Bush. Despite Japan’s post-war constitution that was specifically designed to limit the Japanese military, Japan has sent non-combat troops to both Afghanistan and Iraq. Japan’s influence will also be crucial in counterbalancing the threat from China and North Korea. National Review‘s Rich Lowry argued that Japan’s constitution should be amended to allow it to better defend itself against regional threats, an argument that would seemingly have the support of Mr. Koizumi. With North Korean missiles raining down in the Sea of Japan, the old pacifism of the post-war period is slowly being shed. Even though Japan is the only country on Earth that has seen the effects of nuclear warfare first-hand, Japan does have an advanced nuclear program that could result in working nuclear weapons in short order – as quickly as weeks. The Japanese choose not to use this option, but if threatened they have the technology to do so. The Japanese also have modified AEGIS cruisers for anti-ballistic missile (ABM) usage in order to intercept North Korea ballistic missiles before they hit Tokyo or another Japanese city.

Japan is the world’s second-largest economy, an increasingly vital regional player, and a country that is facing serious economic and political challenges in the future. Junichiro Koizumi is the kind of leader who has already taken Japan’s economy from recession to strong growth, and his international policies are designed to ensure that Japan is capable of establishing a stronger leadership role in the region.

60 years ago, Japan was a sworn enemy of the United States. Now they are one of our strongest allies, and a major force for stability in the region. Times certainly have changed, and it is important that Japanese policy continue to change as needed. Koizumi’s reformist policies will do exactly that, which is why Koizumi’s victory is a win in both Tokyo and Washington.

One thought on “Koizumi Wins Big

  1. Big surprise there! The Liberal Democrats have been in power in Japan for more than 50 years. That’s quite a stretch to suggest that the Japanese re-elected him to show their collective support for George Bush.

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