Koizumi's gamble and its consequences

When Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi called for snap elections to occur in September 2005 to push forward his postal privatization agenda, the opposition, the public and even some of his colleagues were quick to dismiss his so-called irrational move. With only a year left until his retirement, why would the lame-duck Prime Minister hustle this much to shake up the entire political system just for one policy agenda? With resounding results, Koizumi accomplished something many in Japan and overseas political observers didn't think he could do: he managed to usher in a new political era for his Liberal Democratic Party and the Japanese political system through this historic election. With details for the privatization of the postal system still very unclear, no one knows how this vast pool of funds will affect the financial system. Will the release of government control over postal savings and life insurance deposits shake up the stock and bond markets? How and why did postal privatization become Koizumi's ideological agenda? What does this election mean for the LDP? What mistakes did the opposition party make? To shed some light on the current political landscape in Japan, Columbia University Burgess Professor of Political Science Gerald Curtis spoke to a packed audience on September 20, 2005. He was joined by David Weinstein, Carl S. Shoup Professor of Japanese Economy and Associate Director for Research at the Center on Japanese Economy and Business (CJEB) and Hugh Patrick, Director, CJEB. This report highlights Professor Curtis' speech and following discussions with audience members. The program was cosponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute of Columbia University.


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Academic Units
Center on Japanese Economy and Business
Center on Japanese Economy and Business, Columbia Business School
Published Here
June 15, 2011