LDP Leadership Election and Emergency Economic Package
1. Japanese Politics--LDP Leadership Election
Although there have been a number of foreign newspaper reports on the current LDP leadership election, relatively few articles on Mr. Junichiro Koizumi's candidacy have appeared overseas, compared to the active reporting on his popularity by Japanese domestic media. The following are two of the few articles on Mr. Koizumi in major Western newspapers.
- New York Times, "An Unpredictable Politician Moves for Japanese Premier's Job," by Stephanie Strom (April 12).
- Financial Times, "Japanese Voters Favour Reformist, Opinion Poll Backs Koizumi for Premier," by Gillian Tett (April 16).
Otherwise, the only candidate who has been focused on by the overseas media is Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto, a former Prime Minister and the leader of the largest faction within the LDP. Although he is much better known than the other candidates, no dominant view or evaluation of Mr. Hashimoto's candidacy has emerged in the overseas media.
- Washington Post, "Change in Japan" (April 15) may be most favorable for Mr. Hashimoto, as it says, "by the depressing standards of Japanese politics, he (Hashimoto) is an encouraging choice."
- Economist, "Another Chance?" (April 14-20) is probably least favorable, as it concludes that "the signs are that Mr. Hashimoto will win the dubious honour of committing the same sin twice," where the sin refers to a defeat in upper-house elections.
Other articles are somewhere in between regarding his evaluation:
- Sydney Morning Herald, "Unpopular Former PM May Return to Top Job," by Michael Millet (April 6).
- Washington Post, "A Surprising Comeback in Japan, Former Prime Minster Is Party Favorite to Replace Mori," by Clay Chandler (April 9).
- New York Times, "Hashimoto Says Plans 200-Day Deadline for Economy." (April 11).
- Yahoo! News (Associated Press), "Japan's Hashimoto Close to Running," by Kenji Hall (April 11).
2. Japanese Economic Policy--Emergency Economic Package
Since agreement was reached on the Emergency Economic Package by the government and the ruling coalition in early April, foreign media have been actively covering the issue of Japan's bad loan problem. In terms of the depth of their analyses, there seem to be three levels of research and investigation, as exemplified by the following articles:
- Washington Post, "Japan Unveils Bank Plan," by Yoshiko Matsushita (April 4) reports on the Emergency Economic Package focusing on the plan to deal with major banks' bad loan problem per se.
- New York Times, "Japan's Corporate Woes Compound Bank Troubles," by Stephanie Strom (April 3) emphasizes the corporate side of the balance sheet problem, for example, citing the case of Kumagi Gumi, a troubled general contractor.
- Financial Times, "Japan's Bad Loan Problem 'Even Worse Than Feared,' " by Gillian Tett (April 18) posts an interview with the president of Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group and reports that "Japan's economy is still creating new bad loans,... because land prices are still falling and the economy is still weak," pointing to the underlying real estate problem.
3. Other Important Issues on Japan
For example, see the Nautilus Institute's NAPSNet Week in Review: