Get This Party Started

Over a few rounds of the board game Go earlier this summer, Japanese political veterans Naoto Kan and Ichiro Ozawa brokered an alliance that could forever alter their country's political landscape. For years, these rivals had led Japan's two major opposition parties, each a sworn enemy of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) that has ruled the country almost continuously for 48 years. Alone, neither had been able to mount more than a token challenge. But Kan and Ozawa agreed that the LDP's once fearsome power base was eroding. Even its popular leader, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, was having trouble keeping its...

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