Prime Minister Koizumi must

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Prime Minister Koizumi must be happy. An interview revealed that he always wanted to be a rock star. Well, he is popular enough to be one. His Cabinet's approval rating is a record-breaking 88%.

What I can't figure out is why. They don't seem to be doing much of anything differently, though Foreign Minister Tanaka has an amusing big mouth (often full of foot) and not a lot of diplomatic skills.

Koizumi is making his world tour: golfing with President Bush; chatting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair; and shaking hands with Jacques Chirac in France. Beautiful photo opportunities. Maybe Koizumi is a bit like Ronald Reagan--the leading man with a good supporting cast--because the government today really does seem like theatre rather than solid national leadership. Maybe I'm just not reading the right newspapers.

Hmmmm, can I get thrown out of Japan for vague criticism of the government? Nah...

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