Time For Hardball?

President Bush prepares to visit a Japan whose limp economy could pull the rest of the world down too

When Junichiro Koizumi was invited to Camp David one day last June, the Japanese Prime Minister brought along his baseball glove, and the two ball-playing leaders of the world's most powerful economies had a mutually admiring game of catch by the pool. This week, as George W. Bush flies to Tokyo, the first stop in a one-week Asian tour that includes Beijing and Seoul, he has to be wondering if it's time to play hardball. Koizumi, despite his bold promises of reform when he took office 10 months ago, has accomplished little. Japan's decade-long economic slide is only picking up speed,...

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