How Koizumi Lost His Groove

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has never been popular with other politicians, even those in his own Liberal Democratic Party. But the days when he could count on strong public support seem to be slipping away as well. According to a poll conducted by the Asahi newspaper, Koizumi's approval rating has fallen to 33%, the lowest since he took office nearly four years ago. No single event seems to have triggered the drop-off; instead, a number of slow-burning factors have quietly eroded his support, which ran as high as 84% shortly after he became Prime Minister and which still hovered in...

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