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Japan

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Index
  1. Japan Main Page
  2. Japan Expands Its Empire
  3. Japan Tests Its Military Might
  4. Economic Recovery Is Followed by Deep Recession
  5. Succession of Prime Ministers Meet Only Fleeting Popularity
  6. Scandals Taint Leadership
  7. Liberal Democratic Party Ousted from Power
  8. Tsunami Devastates Japan
  9. Sixth Prime Minister Named in Five Years
  10. Study Finds Nuclear Reactor Damaged by Tsunami, Not Earthquake
  11. U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Japanese Organized-Crime Syndicate
  12. Japan One Year after the Tsunami, Earthquake, and Nuclear Disaster
  13. Japanese Still Divided Over Nuclear Issue
  14. Tension Increases with Asian Neighbors Over Islands
  15. Noda Wins Party Leadership Vote, but Faces Strong Opposition
  16. Shinzo Abe Becomes Prime Minister Again in Late 2012
  17. Ongoing Fukushima Leak Declared an Emergency
  18. Japan Lifts Decades Old Arms Ban
Succession of Prime Ministers Meet Only Fleeting Popularity

Despite attempts to revive the economy, fears that Japan would slide back into recession increased in early 2001. The embattled Mori resigned in April 2001 and was replaced by Liberal Democrat Junichiro Koizumi—the country's 11th prime minister in 13 years. Koizumi enjoyed fleeting popularity; after two years in office the economy remained in a slump and his attempts at reform were thwarted.

At an unprecedented summit meeting in North Korea in Sept. 2002, President Kim Jong Il apologized to Koizumi for North Korea's kidnapping of Japanese citizens during the 1970s and 1980s, and Koizumi pledged a generous aid package—both significant steps toward normalizing relations.

Koizumi was overwhelmingly reelected in Sept. 2003 and promised to push ahead with tough economic reforms.

In Aug. 2005, Koizumi called for early elections, when the upper house of parliament rejected his proposal to privatize the postal service—a reform he long advocated. In addition to delivering mail, Japan's postal service also functions as a savings bank and has about $3 trillion in assets. Koizumi won a landslide victory in September, with his Liberal Democrat Party securing its biggest majority since 1986.

Princesss Kiko gave birth to a boy in September. The child's birth spared Japan a controversial debate over whether women should be allowed to ascend to the throne. The child is third in line to become emperor, behind Crown Prince Naruhito, who has one daughter, and the baby's father, Prince Akishino, who has two daughters.

In September, a week after becoming leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Shinzo Abe succeeded Junichiro Koizumi as prime minister. He promptly assembled a conservative cabinet and said he hoped to increase Japan's influence on global issues. Early into his term, Abe focused on nationalist issues, giving the military a more prominent role and paving the way to amend the country's pacifist constitution. He suffered a stunning blow in July 2007 parliamentary elections, however, when his Liberal Democratic Party lost control of the upper house to the opposition Democratic Party.

Next: Scandals Taint Leadership
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