Japan: Going, Going . . . Gone

Going, Going . . . Gone

Cut the strings of a puppet, and it falls down. That is what happened last week to Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu. Noboru Takeshita, the leader of the dominant faction within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, severed the political cords that have propped up Kaifu for two years. Kaifu realized he had lost his standing within the party. Rather than face humiliation in the Oct. 27 party elections that will select the next Prime Minister, he announced that he would not run.

Kaifu's political collapse followed a week of legislative maneuvering that dramatized his inability to corral party support. A set of...

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