Top of The Pops

WHEN THE GOVERNMENT'S POLITICAL-REFORM BILLS OFFICIALLY PASSED MUSTER last week, legislators of the ruling coalition cheered. But Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa looked impassive as he walked along the red-carpeted halls of the Diet building to the victory parties of his coalition members. No matter that this was a historic occasion; Hosokawa seemed above it all. "I have never met anyone who acts so nonchalant about being Prime Minister. He's such a natural," said Shinseito legislator Kozo Watanabe. "That accounts for his extreme popularity."

Popularity may be the most extreme thing about the unassuming former governor of southern Kumamoto prefecture, who has...

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