January 20, 2006

CINCINNATUS'S FINAL FIGHT:

Koizumi reform pitch in last Diet-opener (REIJI YOSHIDA, 1/21/06, Japan Times)

In his final speech as Liberal Democratic Party president to mark the opening of the ordinary Diet session Friday, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi reiterated his plan to trim the civil service, consolidate state-backed financial institutions and push further administrative reforms.

Koizumi delivered his 2006 basic policy outline at the opening of the 150-day ordinary session, which runs through June 18.

"With momentum from postal privatization, I will continue reforms to create a simple and efficient government," Koizumi told lawmakers.

Specifically, he pledged to reduce the number of central government employees, which now stands at 690,000, by 5 percent, within five years and to reassess salary levels to ensure they are in line with those of the private sector. [...]

His rivals in the LDP had argued that the government should carry out more economic pump-priming before embarking on economic reforms, while Koizumi maintained a relatively austere fiscal policy and pressured banks to dispose of their bad loans.

"Now the economy is on the road to a private-sector-led recovery, is meeting goals on the disposal of bad loans and is not relying on the government's fiscal spending," Koizumi claimed in his speech.


The vital questions are whether he started the reform movement in time to save Japan and whether his successors will continue it--the answer to both is: pretty dubious.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 20, 2006 11:19 PM
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