Richard Lloyd Parry of The Times is granted an exclusive interview with the PM and produces this. Koganei resident and all-around curmudgeon Earl Kinmonth get his two yen in about it and asks a question:
Although I have been a resident of Japan the entire span of Koizumi's tenure in office, I cannot for the life of me think of any reforms of any significance that Koizumi has actually achieved. Can someone help me out here?Hmmm...
Not following the advice of the Ministry of Finance on tightening the purse strings or raising taxes?
Not cluttering up the economic machinery with any really dumb stunts (anyone seen a 2000 yen note lately)?
Letting the Bank of Japan's Fukui Toshihiko redefine the position of central banker as "the individual charged with the task of not making decisions about the money supply, as conditions demand"?
Appointing a financial reconstruction minister committed to pressing the banks to stop deferring the write downs of the bad loans in their portfolios?
Not having governmental or semi-governmental financial entities intervene in the stock markets (through PKOs or other such nonsense) despite a big slump during the first two years of his prime ministership?
Weaning the LDP from its reliance on farmers, postmasters and the construction industry, setting the stage for massive reductions in goverment support for these economic actors?
Getting the SDF involved in security actions outside the Asia-Pacific region without running to the UN for cover?
A lot of non-actions to be sure--but the Hippocratic injunction "First, Do No Harm" was ignored by Koizumi's predecessors.
Late Breaking Developments - Due to strong negative reactions in Japan and in China to statements attributed to Koizumi, The Times is now offering a full transcript of the interview.
Even Later Breaking Developments - Parry and Robert Thomson drop in for a chat with foreign minister Machimura Nobutaka.