Yet Another Japanese Zero?

Last fall, bakeries did a brisk business selling biscuits stamped on top with a picture of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and his wavy locks. Shops couldn't keep the Koizumi snacks in stock. Then customers stopped gazing at Koizumi's pastry image long enough to take a bite out of them. And what did they discover? As one Tokyo shopkeeper said last week: "They taste the same as all the other cakes." A lot of Japanese now think Koizumi is like those cakes — good looking on the outside; bland and predictable on the inside.

Ten months ago, the...

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