The next leader of Japan?

While millions of Asians continue to express their outrage over Japanese Prime Minister Junichro Koizumi's repeated visits to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Brian Bremner at BusinessWeek suggests a more confrontational figure could be waiting in wings to claim the top job after Koizumi steps down next September, as he has promised.  In an article published on September 14, Bremner says the man to watch is the hawkish Shinzo Abe.  At the relatively young age of 50, Abe is a rising star in Liberal Democratic Party with a family history bound to fan the flames of historical mistrust across Asia. If Mr. Abe does become the heir to Koizumi, the implications for American foreign policy in the region could be profound.  Mr. Bremner writes: The 50—year—old Abe has been one of Koizumi's biggest supporters on economic reform —— privatization of Japan's postal savings system, tighter government spending to rein in Japan's massive budget...(Read Full Post)